Like the rest of America, I was shocked, shocked that Bill and Melinda Gates are calling it quits. It turns out that they don’t see themselves growing as a couple in the coming years, or as they put it: “The next phase of our lives.”
They announced the impending divorce on social media, which seems appropriate given the name.
Questions abound, such as who gets the big house, the foundation, the chip installing patent (just kidding), and on and on. Life is far more complicated when you’re worth more than the rest of the planet. Naturally, as this has absolutely nothing to do with me, and will not affect me in any meaningful way, I think it’s important to throw in my two-cents. (There’s a joke there for the monetarily inclined.)
Before I rant or make any snide remarks, I should probably say how… Sad? Surprised? Glad? What? (I already mentioned shocked)… I am. However, in truth, this slid off me like water off the back of a duck. What I find fascinating is that, with all the turmoil in the world right now, the divorce of a middle-aged couple led the news.
Maybe it’s because they’re a couple worth many billions, which is why when I got divorced, it was not newsworthy as I do not have many billions to my name. I don’t consider that a bad thing, mainly because if I did, I would stride the Earth like a colossus, which might not be a good thing. It works out.
Beyond my own personal issues are those of the Gateses, which I dutifully read about. I then compared them to me, and my particulars, as a purely mental exercise. In a celebrity obsessed culture, I believe this is important. I also believe it’s important to annoy my wife about this. Again, it’s an important celebrity obsessed cultural issue, though maybe not as much as whether Prince Charming should have gotten the thumbs up from Snow White before kissing her (although how you would do that when Snow White is under the wicked witch’s spell and cursed for eternity…), but that’s for another time and rant.
Because we take our cues from celebrities, I broached the subject with my better half on the off chance that we bust up in the future after we find ourselves staring at each other across the divan and conclude that we just don’t see ourselves growing as a couple. My wife’s response was, “nice try.”
As is with all things, the problems of the mega-wealthy are not the problems of the never will be mega-wealthy. The vast majority of us do not not have our own foundations, multiple houses, more money than we can spent in multiple lifetimes, and the spotlight of celebrity following us wherever we go and whatever we do. Our personal announcements on social media do not elicit national attention.
That doesn’t mean we don’t wonder, often or occasionally, if we’d be better off alone or with someone else. It does mean that I can’t simply jet off to my retreat in Palm Springs and “think it over.”
Maybe that’s why it’s so fascinating: the freedom to choose any number of options and know it’s something other than living in a van down by the river and working at Walmart.
On the remote chance this happens, as Bill and Melinda have, I’ll be asking for your support and understanding.
©2021 David William Pearce