The Billionaire and the Bums

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I’d like to start off by making clear just how rich my neighbor Mark Zuckerberg is. Let’s say his wealth was frozen at its current level right now. And let’s further say the man’s fetish is to have $1,000,000 in cash piled up in front of him, doused in gasoline, and set ablaze. And, just when its almost entirely burned to a crisp, his puts out the fire by peeing on it (Hey, everyone’s got their kink). So let’s just say that’s what he’s really into.

He could do this little ritual, day in and day out, 365 days a year.……….until the year 2300. Try to picture that (well, not too vividly). A million dollars in free cash is an amount only a tiny, tiny portion of the world’s people ever possesses. And yet this man is able to do his piss-fire ritual without interruption every day for almost a quarter of a millennium. That, on multiple levels, should disgust you.

Now that we have established, in really visceral terms, how rich this guy is, join me at the parking lot of Home Depot, which is where I was early on Sunday morning. I had a bunch of things to store, and I was debating whether to rent a public storage space or maybe buy a shed. So I started walking along the edge of the parking lot where they display them.

One looked like a good size, so I opened the door and – – WHOA!! A BODY!! He didn’t wake up, buy there was a man sleeping in there. I took this photo just of his feet, not his entire self, since I don’t want to strip away the last few atoms of dignity the poor fellow might still have.

As I continued to walk, I noticed another person in a shed. Then another. It was like an entire row house. And I also know when these guys finally wake up, they’re going to hang out in the parking lot and hope for someone to come along who is willing to pay cash for some help with a demolition project, or lifting bags of concrete, or digging a ditch, or anything else that might render them a buck or two.

The thing I find most striking, though, is this reality. Below is a map of a portion of Palo Alto. In the lower left is my neighborhood, Crescent Park, and where Zuck lives (he’s actually bought up an entire block of houses, just so he can control who lives near him). In the upper right is the aforementioned Home Depot. As you can see, someone with a really strong arm could probably throw a rock from Zuck’s house and have it land in the same parking lot where those men were sleeping.

One guy has a tenth of a trillion dollars. And, a short walk from there, are a bunch of men with absolutely nothing, who are sleeping in display units of sheds from Home Depot.

It’s pathetic. And, as I’ve said before, if a couple hundred pissed-off people from East Palo Alto showed up at Zuck’s house with weapons………….it could get ugly.