Wednesday, January 5, 2011


If you owned a piece of cyber technology worth billions, what would you do with it? I'd ponder for about 30 seconds . . . then I'd sell it. I guess that's why I'm a two-bit, hand-to-mouth fire chief, and Mark Zuckerberg is the owner of Facebook, which is now reportedly worth 50 billion dollars.

My mind comprehends fifty billion dollars like a snowflake comprehends a blizzard. To put things in perspective, fifty billion would buy two hundred thousand fire trucks . . . or two million sets of heavy hydraulic extrication tools . . . or two hundred million pry axes. Or a real nice house by the beach with enough cash left over to live comfortably for several thousand years and still donate a few billion to help rebuild Haiti.

I just had a brainwave. When I become King of the World, I'll institute a Facebook tax. A mere 1% of the Internet giant's gross value per year. I'd put the $500 million toward . . . you guessed it . . . the ailing volunteer fire service.

Go ahead and say it. I'd make a better court jester than accountant.

Just for fun, here's a quick snapshot of two parallel careers:

  • In 1984, at the age of 22, I co-founded a logging partnership with a friend and started a new era in my life.
  • In 1984, Mark Zuckerberg was born, and started a new era in his life.
  • Over the next 20 years I logged, gallivanted in the Far East, logged again, began a family, and eventually secured a semi-sensible job as a fire chief.
  • Mark Zuckerberg spent his next 20 years messing around on computers, then founded Facebook.
  • I graduated from the Ontario Fire College with a Company Officer Diploma.
  • Mark Zuckerman dropped out of Harvard.
  • My mission in life is to raise two good kids, and retire before I'm 90.
  • Mark Zuckerberg's mission in life is to make the world open.
  • I live in a rented house and drive an 11 year old Toyota.
  • Mark Zuckerberg lives in a rented apartment and drives a 50 billion dollar company.

Our careers are sort of parallel. I had a 22 year head start, and now I'm running parallel in the opposite direction. And I thought writing about the decline of volunteerism was depressing.

If you want to read more about my history, click here. If you want to read more about Zuckerberg's history, click here and here, or Google him for about 8,000,000 other sites.

Here's an interesting piece of trivia: the Blogger spell check doesn't recognize Zuckerberg or Facebook. I'm not the only one behind the times.

Wow. I've really strayed off the straight and narrow. In my own defense, I did try to use the old "King of the World" tactic to wrangle this recalcitrant post back to my chosen theme of firefighting, but it only slowed the downward spiral. Time to toss in the towel and call it a night.

After I check my Facebook page.


  1. Yeah, but you're a lot more fun to read.

  2. That's because billionaires don't have much incentive to be interesting.


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