Steve Jobs died today and I’m having a rather unexpected reaction to it. Sad, inspired and confused — I wonder how a complete stranger can tap so vigorously my shoulder. Typing on my MacBook Pro at this very moment, I slide my fingers across the trackpad to multitask between writing this and discovering new articles, blogs and tributes to Jobs. Beside me is an iPhone 4, my magic hand mirror to the world, and in the front pocket of my white leather purse sits a silver iPod classic, sheltering nearly 7,000 digital fragments of my soul. Jobs’ empire allows me, a monetarily privileged woman on the wrong side of my twenties, to enhance my everyday with sleek, sexy and convenient gizmos, light enough to be toted by my frail city arms.
And the thing is, that’s not going to change.
Despite the bruise near the base of its stem, Apple remains crunchy. We can still get our mitts on the iPhone 5 (when?) and continue emptying our wallets for the thrill of balancing on the tight rope of tomorrow.
So why does it matter to you or me or that guy on the bench over there, that the founder of a billion dollar corporation has transitioned to the unknown? Mortality.
If Steve Jobs can follow his dreams from a garage in Northern California, so can you. If Steve Jobs wants to wear black turtlenecks instead of short-sleeved shirts and a tie, then you can wear flip flops on casual Friday, if you’re courageous enough.
And, if Steve Jobs can die, we certainly don’t stand a chance.
Steve Jobs changed the world, arguably more so than a president or a queen or a king or the kindest nun. And coming to terms with his demise is a peculiar sensation. If/when we lost the person who invented shampoo, hair dryers, pants, the polio vaccine, caprese sandwiches, airplanes, tweezers, socks, cardboard boxes, swords, French Bulldogs, Fig Newtons, puppets and all the other tangible items that have somehow impacted the world, it probably wouldn’t/didn’t feel this way.
And from my lowly, ignorant, technologically-inept vantage point, today Jobs demonstrated it’s possible to live out one’s dreams, but impossible to outlive whatever the hell this all is.
So, the next time you put your face back in your iPad (right now?), realize that one day back in the 70s, some guy felt like doing something, did it, then departed with a screaming message.
And, if you don’t know what it is, you’re probably an ostrich.
Note: My heart goes out to his wife, children and all who were close to him. At 14 I lost my mom to ovarian cancer and typed up her eulogy on a friend’s Mac because, surprise, my PC died at the same time. So did my parakeet.