As a native son, I know that it doesn't take much to get the average Alabamian excited. Double coupon day at Kroger will do it; the opening of a Super Wal-Mart; an Elvis sighting; a batch of Georgia lottery tickets smuggled in by a coworker and sold at cost. But I was amazed at the reception Microsoft CEO Bill Gates got when he came to Alabama last week. You'd have thought Oprah was on trial here for badmouthing grits, the way people were carrying on. One particularly- impressed fellow gushed, "I just shook the hand of the richest man in the world! I may never wash my hand again!"
Partner, you need a hobby. Try aisle 5.
Maybe all the ruckus was because Billy Bob Gates (his honorary Alabama name) came to Dixie to give away money, something we Alabamians will stand in line to see, especially if there's a chance we might get a buck or two. Gates donated $2.7 million to pay for computers and Internet access for Alabama public libraries in an effort to bring cyberspace to underprivileged Alabamians. A noble gesture, but I'll bet the underprivileged would have just preferred the cash.
I don't mean to sound ungrateful, but Bill Gates coughing up $2.7 million is the monetary equivalent of me digging for change in my sofa. Consider these numbers: Bill's estimated worth is $48 billion. That's a 48 and a whole bunch of zeros. On average, Bill earns $120 per second, $7,200 per minute, $432,000 per hour, $10,368,000 per day, $72,576,000 per week, $3.7 billion per year. Poor sap. I guess I shouldn't be too hard on him. Imagine what the IRS does to him every April 15.
Bill and his entourage (which included his wife and three bodyguards specially trained to handle terrorist pie attacks) visited two Alabama libraries that were recipients of his donation: one in Selma, another in Demopolis. Then it was off to Montgomery for a meeting with our beloved Governor Fobio James. It was on the way to Montgomery that Bill ran into another great American: Delbert Lee Knox.
Delbert Lee, a second cousin on my daddy's side, is considered by most in the family to be what my grampa calls, "the one that fell out of the tree and didn't land on his head," which, loosely translated into semi-coherent English, means: the boy made good. Delbert Lee is known around the world as "Delvis: The Elvis Impersonator's Impersonator." His impersonations of other impersonators is incredible! It's like Elvis to the third power. And you should see him do the Elvis Stamp (young AND old versions). It's down right eerie!
That achievement alone is enough to get Delbert Lee seated at the head of the big people's table at all family functions, but he has another claim to fame. He is also the mayor of Goober Falls, Alabama, a small hamlet just off the highway to Demopolis. It was there that Delbert Lee met and spent several minutes with Bill Gates. I'm sure neither of them will ever be the same. I spoke to Delbert Lee shortly after their impromptu meeting and here's what he had to say.
Tim Knox: So, DL, what was it like, shaking the hand of the richest man in America?
Delbert Lee: It was something, TK! I may never wash my hand again.
HL: How did he end up in Goober Falls?
DL: I think he had too much sweet tea up in Selma because he had to stop by Arnie's Gas-n-Go to use the facilities. Arnie called to tell me that he was out there, so I had him trap the little feller in the restroom till I could arrive.
TK: You trapped the richest man in America in a gas station restroom? Was he upset?
DL: Well, he was at first. Then Arnie gave him one of those pine tree air fresheners for his limo and all was forgiven.
TK: What was he like?
DL: Well, he wasn't nearly as tall as I thought he'd be. And I had him pegged as being much older. I mean, he started Wal-Mart nearly forty years ago, you know.
TK: DL, you're thinking of Sam Walton. The guy you met was Bill Gates, the CEO of Microsoft.
DL: (Pause) Bill Gates? Who the hell is Bill Gates?
TK: Ever heard of a little thing called the Internet, DL?
DL: Course I have! We get the X-Files off the satellite dish down here, you know.
TK: I've got an idea, DL. Bill Gates wants to put the average Alabamian on the Internet and since there's no Alabamian more average than you, how about letting me test your Internet knowledge.
DL: I am your faithful hound dog, HL. Fire when ready.
So, I gave Delbert Lee a little test. I asked him to define the following terms. His answers are in bold.
Bytes: What my dog Priscilla does when you pull her tail.
Megabytes: What you get when you Super Size the McNuggets meal at McDonald's.
Megahertz: The world's largest car rental company.
Monitor: One of them big lizards from Japan.
Keyboard: Where Arnie hangs the restroom key down at the Gas-n-Go.
Scuzzy (SCSI): A woman of ill repute.
Hard drive: Any road trip involving my mother-in-law.
Modem: What I did to them stinkweeds that was growing in my yard.
Hardware: My drawers when Lurleen doesn't use fabric softener.
Software: That frilly underwear you see in the Victoria's Secret catalog.
Mouse: Like a gopher rat, only smaller.
Mouse Pad: Where that mouse lives.
Online: Where you stand when waiting to get your government cheese.
Service provider: A truckstop waitress.
RAM: My Dodge truck, by God.
ROM: Jimmy Buffet's favorite drink. Goes good with Coke.
Random Access Memory: When I conveniently forget to tell Lurleen that I been out drinking with Arnie and the boys.
WWW: The international branch of the World Wrestling Federation.
Virus: Something that can't be cured without penicillin or fungus medicine.
Reboot: What you have to do when you wear down the souls of your Dingos.
Microsoft: Really fine toilet paper.
Geocities: A town where everybody drives a little, bitty car.
URL: What Lurleen fries chicken in. Crisco is her favorite.
Shutdown: What happens when the vice squad raids the trailer park on Saturday night.
TK: Thanks, DL. I'll see you at the next reunion.
DL: No, HL, thank you. Thank you very much.
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Tim Knox, Entrepreneur, Author, Speaker, Radio Host
Founder, The Insiders Club, Giving You The Power To Start Your Business Today
Bestselling Author of: "Everything I Know About Business I Learned From My Mama"
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