Monday, June 25, 2012

Rebutting Bill Gates

So this has been making the rounds lately. And there's a pretty good chance that Bill Gates never wrote this, because this sort of thing usually turns out to be fake, but judging by the number of people forwarding this in e-mails or posting it on the Facebook or whatever, there are a lot of folks who think that these are words to live by. So let's take a look at the 11 Things.

Rule # 1: Life is not fair. Get used to it.
Sure, why should we try to make life more fair, says the guy with 20 zillion dollars.

Rule # 2: The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.
Why do these people hate self-esteem so much? I used to occasionally catch bits & pieces of Dr. Laura on the radio, and she was always railing about self-esteem and  how upset she was that people tried to help kids have it. I'm fairly sure that a person who feels good about himself is more likely to accomplish something, anyway. As someone who grew up with very low self-esteem, I can tell you it's no way to live. So fuck you, anyone who would deny a child the right to feel good about him/herself.

Rule # 3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice president with a car phone until you earn both.
Yeah, no one thinks that. No one thinks they're going to earn decent money right out of high school, let alone be a vice president. And certainly no one thinks that they are going to travel back in time to the point where having a "car phone" was some sort of status symbol.


Rule # 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.
Let's hold off for a minute on this one. Wait 'till we get to #8.

Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.
That may be true, seeing as how my grandparent were German immigrants and may not have understood what the word "opportunity" means, but those of us fluent in English know the difference between "opportunity" and "dead-end job that pays a minimum wage which is nowhere near enough to support yourself."


Rule # 6: If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault; so don't whine about your mistakes,
learn from them.

I'm not whining about my mistakes, I'm blaming my parents, so I'm not really acknowledging that I have in fact made a mistake.

Rule # 7: Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

 So, because my parents used to be cool, fuck the rainforest? I don't really see the logic here.  Because my parents paid my bills, it doesn't matter that the rainforests are being destroyed? My parents did a lot for me so there are no rainforest-destroying parasites in their generation? Seriously, I don't see what the point is supposed to be.

Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Wait. you said in rule # 4 that my teachers are tough. Now you're saying that that they're not failing anyone and giving you multiple chances to get the right answer? I don't think that that's even true. I know a couple of teachers, I'm going to e-mail them and find out if they've ever heard of any schools where failing grades have been eliminated. Here's what I do know, though. In the company where I work (a large Fortune-500 company) we have training videos for every aspect of the job, including government-mandated safety training, on line. If, at the end of the  class, you get an answer wrong, the program will replay the part of the video that covered that material and give you a similar question to answer. If you get it wrong again, the process repeats as many times as necessary until you get the questions all correct and the program says "congratulations! You scored 100%!" This is in "real life," not some fictional school. So the fictional school where no one fails and you get to take the test over and over bears a hell of a strong resemblance to my real life.

Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you "FIND YOURSELF". Do that on your own time.

Really? You don't get summers off? Really? You really think kids don't know that? You really think that they don't see their parents working during the summer and put 2 & 2 together?  


And really, who "finds themselves" anymore? Who does that? I'm really starting to think that this was written in the mid 70's. Really.

Rule 10: Television and video games are NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.
Why would you think that anyone would not realize this? You would have to have pretty serious mental problems to think that real life looked anything like this

or this

Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.
Sure, why be a decent person unless there's going to be some payoff in the end.
Also, very few "nerds" end up being Bill Gates. Chances are, the guy you'll end up working for was the star of his high-school football team, or class president. He's not overly bright, but he's got a certain charisma and a a shit-ton of self-confidence from having been the big man on campus. The guys playing Dungeons and Dragons in their spare time will probably end up being smart-ass bloggers. Hey, wait!