Happy National Paperclip Day (apparently popular in the Florida Free State; see this Orlando Sentinel article).
Until recently, as far as anyone knew, the worse decision that Bill Gates ever made was to launch Clippy.
Now we find out that Gates has a family court plaintiff who will be harvesting roughly half of what he earned prior to encountering her.
Consider that Bill Gates beat Xerox and Apple in the desktop computing market. He triumphed over IBM and its technologically superior OS/2 in operating systems. He defeated the U.S. Department of Justice in a landmark antitrust case (ran out the clock until George W. Bush took over!). He escaped the Internal Revenue Service and taxation by stuffing every share of stock that he wanted to sell into the Gates Foundation where it could be sold without attracting capital gains tax.
The one enemy that he couldn’t defend against or prevail over was his family court plaintiff.
(What if he’d stayed single, but periodically had sex with cash-motivated individuals seeking to make bank via pregnancy and child support? Washington State family law makes it tough for a plaintiff to obtain more than about $400,000 over 18 years. Suppose that Gates’s current plaintiff collects $60 billion. That would have been sufficient to fund 150,000 child support plaintiffs at the top of the Washington State child support guidelines. Maybe some of them could have moved to Massachusetts or California or Arkansas prior to giving birth and availed themselves of unlimited child support, as Hunter Biden’s plaintiff did (sex in D.C.; lawsuit in Arkansas). But “unlimited” doesn’t necessarily mean that sex partners would have been paid anywhere near $60 billion.
What if the Melinda entanglement was more about sex than procreation? If Melinda took advice from Betsy Salkind (“Men are like linoleum floors. Lay ’em right and you can walk all over them for thirty years.”), there would have been a short period of evening excitement followed by decades of deep freeze. A friend who is “familiar” (as the journalists say) with the rates charged by legal escorts in London and Germany says that the maximum that Bill Gates could possibly have paid for the highest-end all-night companionship is $2000 per woman per evening (London rates; substantially cheaper in Germany). A $60 billion fee to an American plaintiff would translate into 30 million evenings of top-class escort service in London or 82,192 years of every-evening companionship with one woman (more than 40,000 years of every-evening companionship with two women). The same friend says that Jeff Bezos’s situation breaks his heart. “He was the richest guy in the world. What is he doing with a 50-year-old who already had kids with two different men?”)
Maybe the most helpful thing to say to someone considering marriage to a less-wealthy lower-earning potential future plaintiff: “Do you think that you’re smarter than Bill Gates?”