Steve Jobs: The Other Man in My Marriage
I met my (now) husband the same year Frank Sinatra died.
(I know it was “before 9/11” but always have to look up “Sinatra” in Wikipedia to get the exact year: 1998.)
(I can’t remember our wedding anniversary, either, except the month starts with a “J.”)
We’ve had unnaturally few fights in all this time, but the first, nastiest, and most persistent is “Mac vs. PC.” Those ads are our relationship (from my P.O.V.)
When I met him, Arnie had never even used a computer before. I, on the other hand, had been working on Apples since the late 1980s, when I was helping put out a 16-page newspaper on a 20MB Macintosh SE. (Somehow.)
That thing took so long to start up, I could push the power button at 9 a.m., walk down three flights of stairs, smoke two cigarettes, come back to my desk -- and that adorably homely oatmeal colored box was still churning awake, emitting metallic crunching noises that would have been a clue to call a repairman with any other machine in existence.
I didn’t care. I loved everything about Apple computers and dutifully believed that Bill Gates was the Devil incarnate:
Even the pre-GUI interface was cute, and got even cuter as Apple’s design evolved from “corrugated cardboard brick” to today’s sleek, Zen, hip-yet-friendly style -- the one that perfectly balances “warm” with “cool.” I never tire of that C major chord startup chime, and miss the way my huggable “Bondi Blue” iMac “smiled” at me every morning. (Please bring that back.)
My Apple computers weren't like machines to me. They were more like magical toys.
That -- I could almost feel it -- loved me back.
So back in 1998, I told Arnie an easy to use Mac was perfect for a novice like him.
Naturally he bought a PC and won’t use anything else.
I’m still mad at him for cursing my “Bondi” as "an Easy-Bake oven” when he couldn’t get it to “work right.”
He’s still mad at me for laughing when he struggles with “C drives” or whatever all that crap is on his crappity-crap ugly PC.
Now that his blog gets as many daily “uniques” as mine, I almost regret telling him to buy a computer at all.
When Arnie told me Steve Jobs died, I sat crying for a long time in front of my (latest model) iMac. Not one for hero worship, he didn’t really understand, but for once he didn’t make fun of me, either. (Just backed slowly out of the room.)
I more or less pulled myself together and was literally about to turn off my computer for the night, when a client asked me to squeeze Jobs’ death into his Yom Kippur sermon. I bitterly cranked something out, tears in my eyes. (And added a 50% “hardship” surcharge to his invoice.)
Writing this a few days after Jobs’ death, I’m still too upset to come up with anything deep, poetic, or meaningful.
I especially looked forward to Rush Limbaugh’s reaction, and Rush, a fellow “cultist,” didn’t disappoint:
Steve Jobs epitomized American exceptionalism. His life epitomized it. His philosophies epitomized American exceptionalism. The fact that he was a liberal, to me, was one of the greatest contradictions. But that is of no matter and no concern now. This past Tuesday they introduced the iPhone 4S, and I told you that on Monday I felt like it was Christmas Eve -- and it was for me -- and at age 60 I was able to feel like I did as a kid on Christmas Eve when I was eight or nine.
Pre-Onion, one headline forced a laugh out of me this week -- “Steve Jobs becomes latest victim of Howard Stern Show Vacation Death Curse” -- but I’m still bummed, especially by all the “#iHeaven” hashtags and touching/depressing photographs:
Inevitably, some are now complaining of what I’ll call “over-death” instead of “overkill.” Now I bow to no one in my longstanding and well-documented loathing of pushy, hideous “makeshift memorials” and pagan Lady Di-ification mass rituals.
But that’s because 99% of the time, the dead person didn’t really do anything deserving my grief.
Steve Jobs did.
I still can’t believe anyone could look at this:
And see this:
Self-pity isn't pretty, but that's a lot of what I'm feeling, if I'm being honest.
Yes, Steve Jobs gave me the life I have now, but his amazing life, and premature death, also cast into sharp relief just how much of my own I’ve wasted.