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Merriam-Webster Word of the Day

Cartoon of the Word vol. 1

Northside Madison
Ambrosavage's Cartoon of the Word (of the Day)

Good Boy Bill 

Recently, in the gloom and foreboding of a Monday morning commute, I sighted a BMW 7 series sedan, a car not quite as large as the national deficit, but almost. BMW's are no oddity on the freeways of Seattle, but this one looked as though it had just been polished by elves, and seemed to glow with an inner-light. "Who is driving this magnificant automobile?" I wondered. As we pulled alongside the car, I saw the driver was a young man with bad posture, who seemed to be squinting at the road through poorly prescribed glasses. He glanced over at me, and I saw that it was Him, the King Geekster, Bill Gates. He recognized me, of course. It was our second meeting...

When I first moved to Seattle, I worked for a caterer named Da Danada. Danada, like so many of my generation, renamed herself in the 1970's. A former Sally or Susie or Nancy, she found life more complete as Da Danada, and who wouldn't? I myself changed my name from my birth name of "Davijaa" to "John" after being transformed by a Rowan & Martin lounge act I saw in Vegas in 1974, but that is an entirely different story.

On this night I speak of I found myself as the only assistant to Da Danada, who was catering a small dinner party at the Laurelhurst home of the elder Mr. and Mrs. Gates. The Gates' were hosting the party for Bill, and twelve of his associates. Danada was an old pro at dealing with Seattle Society, having been raised amongst them, and dinner went without a hitch. After refilling glasses of wine, and serving coffee, we cleaned up, and began loading Danada's pots and pans into her pumpkin orange Celica station wagon. Bill's dad, the affable Mr. Gates, had been chatting with Danada as we cleaned up, and I was shocked when he yelled to the dining room "Bill! Help these young people load up their car!" I could see Bill roll his eyes, and could almost hear him think "Oh, Dad!" But he came into the kitchen, and, wordlessly, shoulder to shoulder with Da Danada and I, began to make trip after trip from the kitchen to the Celica, until the car was utensil full, and Da Danada and I dissappeared into the Laurelhurst night.

Now, so many years later, I watch as Bill signals left, and exits right towards the airport. Bill has done very well since last we met. Then only a multi-millionaire, he is now a billionaire, while I have yet to pile up even a crummy million. It is easy to hate Bill Gates. Not quite as rich as God, but almost, he makes the robber barons of the 19th century look like pikers. But as ruthless and cut-throat, as quasi-legal as Bill Gates is, I just have never been able to hate him. Because I know.

He's the Billionaire who listens to his Dad.

- Cartoonist John Ambrosavage uses Bill's products daily.

Contents on this page were published in the December/January 1995 edition of the Washington Free Press.
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