Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish, Stay Vocal

The cynic in me can’t help but think that behind all the public mourning, there’s an editor scheming to mine the story for all it’s worth — for another slideshow, or interview or firsthand testimony from someone who saw Jobs at a froyo shop once, and swears his IQ rose because of it. A biography is being rushed to print a month early, and on Oct. 8 the New York Times reported that Sony Entertainment will likely buy the film rights. 

And still, there’s the truth: that words like “visionary” and “revolutionary” are the ones that fit. That there is no way to know how far the digital revolution might have reached if not for Jobs and his notorious perfectionism. That the public outcry in his passing is inescapable, but more than that — it’s deserved. 

My Apple fandom started young. Before we had a computer at home, my dad would often bring his PowerBook home from work. It was years before the iPod, and probably before I’d even committed two weeks’ allowance to that first Britney Spears CD. 

The laptop was strictly for company business, but mysteriously, it also possessed the holy grail that was Kid Pix — you know, the drawing program that let the gifted children paint late-90s masterpieces, while I made lots and lots of stick figures. (And in different colors, too!) 

In an instance of hilarious/terrifying foreshadowing, that was where all the clamoring began. Dad, can I get on Kid Pix now? What about 20 seconds from now? 

By middle school, it was the iPod that I wouldn’t shut up about and then the Macbook and then — let’s just say it’s been an ugly descent from age eight. 

Naysayers like to trot out the same old argument that Apple products are only popular for their status (an argument that isn’t totally weightless, even if my old laptop is several coffee spills beyond its beauty pageant days). 

But naturally, they’re short on ammo when it comes to the company’s (i.e., Jobs’) role in revolutionizing the way we interact both with technology and with each other. A thousand songs in your pocket sounds like a quaint promise in 2011, but it was a radical one just a decade ago. I can’t imagine what I’d have filled an iPod with then (there weren’t a thousand  “….Baby One More Time” remixes). But what’s even more unfathomable is just how much more Jobs could have done with another decade. 

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