There is a certain type of accident that really only happens to rich guys, and the founder of Siebel Systems just had one: Gored by an elephant while on photo safari in the Serengeti, he now needs reconstructive surgery.
Earlier this summer, Siebel was at a Tanzian watering hole with his guides when an elephant broke from an otherwise quiet pack about 200 yards away, the former software executive told the San Jose Mercury News. He charged Siebel's party; a guide's attempt to hit the elephant with a gun missed.
Siebel said he was trampled and gored in the leg, until he just "curled into as tight a ball as I could." The guide suffered broken ribs and other injuries.
Siebel spent 18 days in four hospitals on two continents and is now using a wheelchair. He follows in the rich-guy-accident of the man who acquired his company, Larry Ellison, who is also Siebel's former boss. Ellison swore off yacht racing after a harrowing 1998 storm off the Australian coast bruised him and the crew of his Sayonara. The storm killed six sailors on other boats.
Of course, there are plenty of not-so-rich people in Africa who are hurt by elephants, and plenty of not-so-rich Pacific fishermen who are hurt by storms. But in America, only a select few are willing to leave perfectly comfortable homes and perfectly safe occupations to actively seek out that sort of danger. And they are backstopped by having the only form of health insurance that is really truly reliable in this country: Being a billionaire.
(Elephant pic via jsrcyclist's Flickr.)