Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Those lucky Mexicans peso much for phone service

Without even knowing it, when you woke up this morning, you had something in common with Bill Gates. I mean, besides the abiding affection for all things Microsoft. Bill Gates is no longer the richest person in the world, and, unless your name is Carlos Slim, Mexican telecommunications giant, neither are you. So, who is this Carlos Slim, Mexican telecommunications giant, and how do we get to know him a little better? Well, he was born in 1940, making him eleven years older than I. (Guess I better get busy gettin' rich!) And, according to Wikipedia, he's a Mexican engineer, businessman and philanthropist largely focused on the telecommunications industry. He is currently the wealthiest person in the world with a net worth of around US$53.5 billion through his holdings. He was able to raise money for a telecommunications company by purchasing standby letters of credit which enabled him to obtain guaranteed loans which provided the capital.

I have to point out that Carlos Slim is a cool, cool name. It sounds like a great name for a cigarillo, or a long lean beer stein, or just any number of cool, cool items. Remember in Spanish class, when everyone was given a Spanish name so they could really feel Spanish while repeating dialogues in a Baltimore accent? And there were people whose names didn't readily translate, as did Mark ("Marcos"), Robert ("Roberto") and Mary ("Maria"). If your first name was Wilberforce, I am truly sorry, but you had to choose from the unclaimed names left over, and you could now choose to bill yourself as "Carlos Slim."

I also need to point out that I shall likely remain a stranger to the list of richest people in the world, as I have no idea at all what is meant by the expression "
purchasing standby letters of credit which enabled him to obtain guaranteed loans which provided the capital" and I promise you, I never will. If you held a gun to my head and forced me to guess, I suppose it has something to do with talking people into letting you borrow money that they promise to pay even if you don't make good on your deal. Or it could mean something else altogether. I'd like to have two standby letters of credit, please! Thank you! That should be enough to get me started. Now how do you open these things?????

I mean, think of it. This cat is richer than Bill Gates, richer than Warren Buffett, richer than Jimmy Buffett, richer than a group of fewer than 53 people who only have a billion dollars to their names.

As Arthur said, "I wish I had a nickel for every nickel I have, and I do."

Congratulations, Carlos. You're looking marvelous today, sir.

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