The Pulse

Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: Elon Musk is curious about that bridge you wanna sell him

By: - December 31, 2022 6:00 am
Elon Musk during the official opening of the new Tesla electric car manufacturing plant on March 22, 2022 near Gruenheide, Germany.  (Photo by Christian Marquardt – Pool/Getty Images)

I write the next paragraph with the full understanding that, as a result, my Twitter account may be dispatched to a place as cold and dark as where Brittney Griner was bustin’ rocks just a couple of weeks ago. Never to be seen again. So be it. #itwasworthit.

Elon Musk is awful, y’all.

For the longest time, I thought he was just odd—a guest host gig on “Saturday Night Live” a while back was fine and he appeared to be a good sport in that sparsely populated club of billionaires who can laugh at themselves but…no more.

These days, Elon Musk has all the stamps on his “crazy as an outhouse rat” punch card and he’s just getting started. It’s obvious buying Twitter for the ridiculous sum of $44 billion made him nuts. I get it. I once paid too much for a “cashmere” throw that turned out to be “cashmiracle” instead and I had terrible buyer’s remorse. It’s the exact same thing.

We snickered a little when he announced on Day 1, he would charge $20 a month to get or keep a verified Twitter account and quickly reduced it to $8 after users complained. Then there was talk of $2 a month. Which tells me if you want to go car-shopping, do NOT let Elon negotiate for you.

“Wait! Is that a rusted out ’70 Camaro over there on the back lot? I’ll give you $30 million for that. What? It’s $850 or best offer? Ohhhh, being cagey, huh? Well you’re taking the $30 million or I walk Mr., er, what was your name, Dan the Dealmaker? Yes, well, please accept this deal and give my best holiday wishes to Mrs. Dealmaker and any spawn you may have.”

To be fair, it’s hard to be likeable when you’re the richest person in the world. That’s why you’ve never heard of most billionaires. They circle the wagons, hang out with just family members dining together nightly on the carcasses of mouthy employees and generally stay out of the limelight except for the occasional museum or big university building dedication. That’s just speculation, of course. It’s fair to say most of what I know about rich people I learned from watching C. Montgomery Burns on “The Simpsons” so it’s possible I’m wrong.

It’s almost as if Elon Musk got tired of his bromance buddy, Ye West, getting all the attention. He fired 5,000 employees, created makeshift “bedrooms” for the remaining staff so they could rest between mega shifts, mercilessly mocked a man who has devoted his entire career to public health (Fauci); and welcomed all manner of QAnon conspiracy craziness back to Twitter.

Musk has plunged from brilliant tech pioneer and celebrated, though eccentric, visionary of the future into an object of near universal derision. He was booed lustily for a solid five minutes at a Dave Chappelle comedy show in San Francisco recently and, according to some audience members, he looked genuinely shocked. Was it a wake-up call? Nah. By the next day, he was tweeting that only about 10 percent of the audience booed him at most, despite video evidence to the contrary. The tech giant forgot about cell phones.

I sincerely hope Musk is better at math than this indicates or else some of those cars aren’t going to be completely safe. Oops. Too late. (“This car has a 90 percent customer satisfaction rating. Or is it 10? Same diff, right Dealmaker?”)

Elon Musk’s stock, both real and metaphorical, has plunged and, this being the holiday season, it may take a crusty old dude named Marley wearing rattling chains attached to ledgers and cash boxes to show him the error of his ways. Here’s hoping.

Celia Rivenbark is a NYT-bestselling author and columnist. Write her at [email protected].

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