Move over, Albert. You, too, Sigmund. It seems that Gates has finally put in enough appearances on TV talk shows to qualify for entry into a true celebrity hall of fame. Visitors to the Wax Museum on Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco are now treated to the extraordinary sight of a life-size, all paraffin Gates, holding forth on his epic 20th century scientific discovery of Win95, while in the august company of none other than Einstein, Galileo, and Freud. No other living captain of industry is on display at this by-the-sea monument to great scientific achievement.
That Gates should enter the pantheon of such historical geniuses in his own lifetime was, of course, a forgone conclusion. For what other great twentieth century inventor has had the mental audacity to create such intellectual breakthroughs as the "UAE," or "Bob?" These two seminal, scientific creations will long be remembered by generations to come. Bill has been a legend in his own mind almost since the beginning. It only took some twenty thousand hours of TV time to convince others of this incontrovertible fact
But one has to wonder if Galileo would approve of being in Bill's company? After all, the pope put Galileo under house arrest for saying that the earth revolved around the sun, and not the other way around. But Bill G. steadfastly maintains that the entire PC universe has Microsoft at its center, and not those quarrelsome users. So were he alive today, would Galileo once again opt for domicile incarceration, or would he just cave in, and spring for the latest Internet Explorer upgrade?
Freud might also want to have Bill lie down on the analyst's couch. Sigmund maintained that most neurotic behavior was a manifestation of some repressed libidinous desire. Thus, he might have cause to wonder if Bill's lust for global software domination had, at its root, some quirky, subconscious tendencies. Freud, were he living today, might even want to add another chapter to his great treatise, "Civilization and its Discontents," on user unhappiness about escalating PC maintenance costs.
Einstein could also have cause for puzzlement about being in the awesome company of Bill G. After all, Albert had vainly spent the last half of his life trying to come up with a unified field theory which brought together all the fundamental forces of the universe. But Bill has had no such difficulty in stating that every known force in the computer universe is tied together, with Microsoft at its epicenter. Given that he failed so miserably at his own grand unification task, Einstein would probably be humbled to be in the company of such an intellectual giant
After such waxen accolades, what's left for Bill, except sainthood?
But, hey, why stop with just Bill Gates? Every PR firm in the Bay Area must be hard at work, trying to come up with a justification for why their client industry tyros should also be on Fisherman's Wharf, in such exclusive scientific company. Larry Ellison, for example, immediately springs to mind. For didn't Ellison prove wrong the physical dictum that energy can neither be created nor destroyed, when Oracle showed it was possible to build a multi-billion dollar company from scratch, even though it had absolutely no competitive products to start with? To create such a big something from an intangible nothing has to warrant a place for Larry alongside Albert, who would certainly be keen to know more about how the immutable laws of physics were turned on their head.
Then there is Scott McNealy, and his Java-based Network Computer. McNealy's accomplishment of getting millions of rational people to logically believe that stepping back into the centrally-controlled 3270 terminal past was a significant scientific step forward has to rank right up there with Freud's historical pronouncement that the conscious, rational mind was held hostage by the unruly, undisciplined unconscious. Our waxen Sigmund and Scott obviously would have much to silently say to each other about the perversity of human behavior, were they put together.
And finally, Jim Barksdale of Netscape deserves a place in there, as well, perhaps next to Galileo. The great Italian inventor/astronomer spent years studying the heavens, trying to decipher the mysterious meanings of celestial objects' wanderings. When Barksdale laid out his grand scheme for Netscape's Communicator suite, which had its numerous software planets heading straight for collision with both IBM's Notes and Microsoft's Internet products, confused users probably could have benefited from a few sage words by Galileo. But, more than likely, Galileo would have been just as mystified by the marketing movements of this product constellation as every one else. Barksdale and Galileo surely belong in each other's company, if only so Galileo could ask Jim what it all meant, anyway.
So how come they don't teach this kind of modern, relevant 20th science in our schools? It's no wonder our kids are falling behind.
Home Users: Get ready to put up icons of Bill Gates everywhere in your home. Also, be sure to genuflect every time you boot up your PC -- but never, ever curse in front of his sanctified image should you not be able to get that CD ROM going under Win95.
Business Users: If the boss gives you a hard time about your ill-fated decision to switch over from Unix to NT, thereby losing the ability to effectively scale up, as well as foregoing any hope of robust security, just point at the digitally-altered picture on your desk of Einstein hugging Bill G. Tell your bosses that if it's good enough for Albert, it should be good enough for them, too.
Power Users: Your True Believer prayers have been answered! Gates has finally ascended into the pantheon of holy geek hood. Continue confusing your friends, workers, and colleagues with Microsoft double speak, and you, too, may one day enter the sanctified realm of Bill's Truly Blessed (especially if your spiritual efforts help Gates double his current net worth of $33 billion to a cool $66 billion.)
Copyright 1996, Francis Vale, All Rights Reserved
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