My source first heard this rhetorical question when he was asked one of his friends from Seattle whether or not they wanted to go to a party. The friend replied, “Is Bill Gate’s rich?” Of course Bill Gates is rich. He’s the cofounder and chairman of Microsoft, and has been the richest man in the world for over a decade. So, of course his friend wanted to go to the party. Rather than just say yes in response to the invitation, the rhetorical question was used for effect to show just how eager they were to go.
My source is from Seattle, Washington, and this is where he first learned of this rhetorical question. This makes sense, because Bill Gates grew up and also owns a residence in the Seattle area. He also donates to local universities and organizations. In the given situation, his friend could have just as easily replied, “Is the Pope Catholic?” They could have also said, “Does a bear shit in the woods?” Both of these rhetorical questions are replaceable with my source’s rhetorical question, but because of the local connection to Bill Gates, my source’s rhetorical question was the one that was used.
Soon after he heard this rhetorical question for the first time, my source began to hear it quite frequently afterwards. It is used among many of his friends and his family as an emphatic way of saying yes. However, since he moved to Los Angeles for college, my source has not heard the rhetorical question once. He suggested that this lore is shared mostly, or is preferred by Seattle residents because of their local connection to Bill Gates.