The old book “How to Become a Millionaire” has been revised. The new version has “Billionaire”. In the old book, it said the best way to become a millionaire was to “choose your parents wisely. If your folks were Rockelfellers, you would be born a millionaire. The rest of us would have to work for our millions.

The real advice was “never borrow money, never go into debt”. Paying interest is like dumping your money down the drain. In this new way, the best way to become a billionaIre is to marry one and get a divorce. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon had his wealth calculated to be 112 billion a few years ago. He lost half of that recently and now the poor boy has to live on 56 billion a year. His wife, MacKenzie Scott, sued for a divorce and got half of the 112 billion. That sounds heavenly if you are MacKenzie, but it has created problems. She does not want to be filthy rich and is working hard and overtime to give it away. She has given away 4.2 billion in the past 4 months to 384 groups. However, the value of her fortune increased by 8 billion at the same time. She is now richer than when she started to give it away. It is almost impossible to give away billions responsibly.

Meanwhile, back in our sane lives, life goes on. The eight year old sat next to her grandmother, “What’s that she asked?”

“It’s a book. It’s got pages and doesn’t need re-charging. Settle down now and I’ll read you a story: “On a cold winter afternoon, the birds came to the Hawthorn bush to feed on the bright red berries. They hopped about and twittered…”

“They what?” interrupted Sue.

“They twittered. They sang,” said grandmother.

“Let me see that book. Those birds don’t have phones! How can they twitter?”

“They do it naturally. Humans have stolen bird language, robbed the birds of their pretty songs, and use it to wear out their thumbs. Words are like living things. You grow up and change, so do words change. Recently a test aircraft crashed. The pilot ejected and survived, and when the test company sent in its report, they didn’t say “crashed”. They said it had ‘Excessive touchdown velocity and rapid unscheduled disassembly’. That’s the new way to say high speed crash.”

Sue said, “You’re confusing me grandma. What happened to the birds in the bushes?”

“I just told you. Words change all the time, so I’ll give you a word to puzzle over: Tell me a collective noun that is now out-dated, obsolete — I’ll give you a clue. It’s only three letters long.”  

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