Microsoft Virology

Going through some recent issues of Hamodia (I do that…), I came across a story that amazed me. What amazed me wasn’t so much the content of the story, but the fact that it was taken seriously enough to report as news.

The (rather long) headline ran “Bill Gates Says U.S. Virus Testing Has ‘Mind-Blowing’ Problems,” (Sunday, August 9).

The article began, “Microsoft Corp. founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates said it’s ‘mind-blowing’ that the U.S. government hasn’t improved COVID-19 testing that he described as slow and lacking fair access. You’re paying billions of dollars in this very inequitable way to get the most worthless test results of any country in the world. No other country has this testing insanity.”

As I write this on my PC running Windows 10, in Microsoft Word, and will send it in Microsoft Outlook, I am forced to admit that Mr. Gates is a smart fellow. But I’m reminded of a joke that began circulating around 1997. It didn’t take long for people to believe it really happened. But that’s because, even though it didn’t happen, in essence, the joke is true:

The version I heard had Gates addressing a COMDEX computer exposition and claiming that if Microsoft made automobiles, by then, cars could get 1,000 miles to the gallon and cost less than $50. The legendary response from GM was: “But who would want a car that crashes twice a day?”

OK, so that was a joke. But since when is Bill Gates an expert on epidemiology? Last I heard, he couldn’t even control viruses attacking Windows computers.

Then I remembered an old Yiddish proverb and understood:

Mit gelt in keshene, bist du klug, bist sheyn, un kenst oych gut zingen — With money in your pocket, you are wise and you are handsome, and you sing well too.”

Mordechai Schiller, Brooklyn, N.Y.