By now everyone with access to the news has seen that a few millionaires decided to enter a poorly built civilian submersible in order to see the Titanic wreckage at the bottom of the ocean. Communication was lost, and a search was conducted, ultimately locating wreckage. In the days that followed it was determined that there was a critical flaw in the sub’s construction which caused a catastrophic implosion, during which the passengers were essentially vaporized so quickly they were incapable of registering that it was happening before it was over. Not to make light of death, but if you ride a Bud Light can into the depths of the sea… Well it gets hard to empathize with you.
The internet did what the internet does and the memes started to flow. Some of the details were so ridiculous as to be comical, such as the device being driven using a generic version of a PlayStation controller. And of course, the victims were all the sort of people who had $250k to drop on the beer can cauldron of farts to the bottom of the sea. This all begs an interesting question: why do the billionaires yearn for the tubes?
Take Jeff Bezos of Amazon or Elon Musk of Tesla. Both disturbingly rich and both own space exploration side businesses. Don’t get me wrong, if I had stupid money, I’d be interested in space too… But space penises? If we look at Blue Origin and SpaceX, one can hardly escape the reality that these are just more phallically shaped tubes like the submarine.
In 2005, one of the heirs to the Walmart empire, John Walton, died in a plane crash. John wasn’t much from running the company affairs, so he spent his time doing adventures like skydiving and mountain biking. He also set up an education fund for tens of thousands of children, and earned a Silver Star in Vietnam, so overall a decent and generous guy. This didn’t stop his self-inflicted death, however, when he crashed his plane, which he had built himself from a parts kit. With a few modifications, of course… Including removing the skin of the ‘aircraft’.
Maybe it’s boredom, or perhaps a way to outrun the shady nature of their dealings, but the rich tend to reach for the tubes of death frequently. We may never have the answer of ‘why’, but perhaps one day they’ll see sense and use that money for something more worthwhile and less lethal.