Witnessing a giant of the tech industry in a slow, steady decline is painful viewing.
There’s no doubt Gates is still a man of many talents. He’s founded a world-changing, billion-dollar company, saved countless lives with his philanthropic work and he can leap clean over a standard office chair in a single bound.
Well, actually, no he can’t. Gates admitted that – while years ago he used to be able to wow interviewers (and the rest of the world) by leaping over a sizeable chair in his office – age appears to be catching up with him.
Taking part in a Reddit AMA (ask me anything) Q&A session on Monday night, a user asked whether he can still leap clean over a chair.
The answer was rather plaintive: “No I cannot. I can still jump but not over a full-sized garbage can like I used to be able to. Be careful – it can hurt if you don't succeed.”
The health and safety-style warning at the end is also a worrying sign that Gates is not the daredevil chair-leaper he once was, and fears time's winged chariot hurrying near. Perhaps it's also why he's stepped down as Microsoft's chairman.
However, there was a hint there is still life in Gates' leaping legs yet, when Reddit user suds5000 tried to find some solace in the fact that “it probably still depends on the size of the chair...”
An eager Gates replied: “Yes. A small enough chair I can still jump over.”
Like a faithful labrador trying to please its master, it's almost heart breaking. But there is no doubt that Gates is a shadow of his former himself. Gates was also asked in a Reddit AMA back in March 2013: “Can you still jump over chairs?“ The Reddit crowd have some odd interests.
Back then, Gates was showing signs of slowing down, but was obviously still up to his old tricks: “Less than I used to. It was part of exercise for snow skiing. I still ski but I am not as hard core...”
Ask not for whom the chair tolls, it tolls for thee.
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