"Hey, are you related to Bill?"
I get this all the time. Being a computer Gates, I guess it's inevitable and it might even be kinda churlish to resent it, but precisely because I do get it so often, I do resent it! So to put the record straight, here are some famous Gateses that are absolutely bloody nothing to do with me!
Having said that, there was this time when I was working a trade fair. Bored on my lunch break, I swaggered over to the Microsoft stand and, in the worst Texan accent you've ever heard, drawled, "Howdy. Is Uncle Bill here yet?". It took 'em fifteen minutes to realise, and then they called Security. Sigh...
CEO of the ubiquitous Microsoft Corporation, Bill is certainly the most
famous Gates in the world. He's living proof that the geeks shall
inherit the Earth - hope for us real-life Dilberts.
I guess if you look at what he has done, you have to admit
that he does have a Vision; whether you agree with his
"computer on every desktop and in every home" ideal of a techno-Utopia
is up to you.
Bill was worth something like £40,000,000,000 the last time
I checked - he's personally funding a global satellite network
- making him the single wealthiest person in the world after the
outrageously rich Sultan of Brunei.
I'm surprised that no-one has
set him up as a Bond villain, to be honest. But then, he
already controls the world.
I couldn't find a picture of Eric, so here's one of his team mascots instead.
Eric Gates is one of the less well-known of my non-clan. He was
striker for Ipswich Town Football Club in the Eighties and has since
occupied various positions of football-guruhood in other clubs including
I learned about Eric while working in a reassuringly menial job. There
were four Andys in a team of eight, so each one had a daft nickname.
They decided to call me Eric. I don't know what karmic debt I had built
up to deserve it; their only excuse was that I was crap at football and
so was he. I guess they weren't Ipswich fans.
IFBB professional bodybuilder Vicki Gates is probably the most visually
striking Gates I can think of; not even in one of my LRP Big Costumes can
I claim to have more of a "what the hell?" doubletake effect than this bootfaced,
hypertrophied unrelative of mine.
Vicki has been on the pro bodybuilding circuit for some time, scooping up
placements in international competitions with a fair degree of regularity.
While she has undeniable mass and definition along with admirable vascularity and muscle maturity, I suspect that the top titles evade her
because of a certain lack of sculpturality - true champions' bodies are
as much art as they are athleticism.
Alias Dr Beverly Crusher of the Enterprise, skull-faced Gates has two
great crimes to answer for. First, she is the eternally unlikely
Mrs Skullhead, flirting with Jean-Luc and occasionally taking command
of a multi-zillion-credit starship despite having less command credentials
than the Betazoid.
And second, she's the mother of Wesley.
I categorically deny any relationship!
Mythical & Literary Gates
And here's where it starts getting weird. Let's start with the
Okay, let's see if I can make this really clear. The Pearly Gates,
aka the Gates of Heaven,
are a Victorian-American invention, created as a sort of visual
cue to the hard-of-imagining about how God would allow the righteous
into Heaven and deny entry to the scum. They're pearly because
pearls are both shiny (= valuable) and white (=pure).
They're usually depicted with St. Peter standing there, checking
names off against a list like some kind of celestial bouncer.
Amusingly many pictures of the Pearly Gates show them as a huge
driveway-gate with a smaller gate set into one panel; presumably
the big gates are to allow the Host free access when the Rapture
comes and the little gate is for one-by-one admittance. That
little gate is commonly called a Jew's gate."
Of course if Heaven has gates, then there really ought to be
some Gates of Hell too.
Now, these gates have an entirely different purpose.
They're in place to keep something in. The Devil. Satan.
Lucifer and his horde of rebellious angels who opposed God and were
cast into Hell for their impudence. All very dramatic stuff; Milton
(blind, mad genius) probably got it closest when he described Hell
in Paradise Lost as a lake of fire, which burned their flesh,
yet cast no comforting light or warming heat. Grim. The Gates were grim too:
Thrice threefold the gates; three folds were brass
Then there are other
Magickal Gates. I'm stretching it here, but lore is full of other gates. Stone circles,
and other liminal places where at certain times and under certain
conditions, gateways appear between here and... there.
Three iron, three of adamantine rock,
Impenetrable, impaled with circling fire
Paradise Lost, Book II
You'll find these chaps all through human culture: they are in our religions,
our folklore, even our cheesy 3am horror movies. Check with your psychologist
for a detailed analysis of their deep meaning. Don't open any unless you're sure what's on the other side. And watch out for the