I finished reading the Steve Jobs biography not too long ago, and near the end there’s a description of the last meeting between Steve and Bill Gates at Steve’s house.
“We were like the old guys in the industry looking back,” Jobs recalled. “He was happier than I’ve ever seen him, and I kept thinking how healthy he looked.”
This rang clear and true when I read it because I had the exact damn thought when I saw Bill Gates at Dick’s Burgers in Wallingford a month ago.
My son’s school is in Wallingford (a Seattle neighborhood just north of downtown) and I had stopped at Dick’s after work and before a parent-teacher conference. I love Dick’s. Their burgers are fresh, they’re fast, great shakes and the obvious penis overtones. What’s not to love. I ordered a Special, a cheeseburger, fries and a chocolate shake, and (as it’s not a sit-down joint) I returned to my car to feast.
I was halfway through the Special when a green Mercedes pulls up next to me and Gates gets out and walks straight up to the window (there was no line at that moment, which is rare). I look around and there’s no security detail, no helicopter, nothing, just the world’s richest man ordering a burger from the finest walk-up greasy burger joint in the northwest. His foundation office is downtown, so it’s likely he was up from there. He was tanned, his hair was the typical long unkempt Gates hair, he had a slight paunch that wasn’t fat but showed he enjoyed eating, and he looked HEALTHY. He looked young. You could even say he glowed.
A guy in the car on the other side of me, having seen Gates, looked over at me and we grinned. And then Gates was walking back to his car and I raised up my shake at him and he gave a slight ‘what’s up’ nod to me and he got in his Benz and drove away.
So it was strange to get to the end of the Jobs book, to read about Jobs’ health challenges and his struggles with eating and his vegetarianism and his fruitarianism and the sad details of his wasting way, and then to come to that passage about Gates. And my first thought when I read it was a practice that I’ve been following for a very long time: Eat Burgers.