I received a message from a friend recently that featured some musings by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates on the current virus crisis. His thesis is 15 or so points about what the COVID-19 virus is bringing to mind (you know, like "It is reminding us that we are all connected and something that affects one person has an effect on another." That kind of thing.)
Now, let's be clear: I think it’s a swell idea to consider any positive attributes that may flow from this health disaster (if, indeed, there are any). But here's the thing: I've always found it interesting how we idolize people who have excelled in one particular area… and then assume that makes them brilliant across the board. Doesn't hold water, does it?
Bill's obviously a bright guy. As you know, he and his childhood pal Paul Allen had the smarts to get together and develop a basic computer operating system, MS-DOS. They aligned themselves with IBM. And then they had their software adapted to become Windows. Both became billionaires as a result. (Paul's wealth could not help him escape an early death a couple of years ago: he died of septic shock related to non-Hodgkin lymphoma.)
While I take nothing away from Mr. Gates – indeed, another friend turned me on to the Netflix series "Inside Bill's Brain" which convinced me the man's a polymath and I do respect his brilliance – my point is that he should not necessarily, be deified and defined as brilliant about viruses. Should we accept his area of expertise being computer software, and not necessarily everything else? Sure, when you have a "bully pulpit" because of your renown, you can wax poetic on just about anything you want. After all, Donald Trump built a real estate empire (albeit, with bankrupting hotel and casino businesses of his six times!), so that makes him brilliant enough to be President of the U.S., right?
I rest my case.
I don't mean to besmirch Bill Gates. But to say, in relation to COVID-19, "Life is cyclical and this is just a phase in the great cycle. We do not need to panic; this too shall pass." is just under-selling the severity of the situation. To me, anyway.
Frankly, for my money (a buck and a quarter), it's Melinda Gates, who came from nowhere, who's the brilliant one in the family.
I'm jest sayin'…