In the early 1980s, we students at Ryan Junior High School in Queens, NY were required to take a class called simply “Computer”. Our teacher was the sideburned, bell-bottom wearing Mr. Berkowitz. The class, in a word, sucked. And I sucked at it. The only reason I passed was because Berkowitz didn’t give a shit and basically passed everybody.
I hated computers after that experience. Even as computers evolved over the years and became popular I still harbored an aversion to them. In fact, I was slow to get on the computer bandwagon compared to others. A friend of mine had a computer in her home – a PC. I tried to use it a few times and it frustrated the hell out of me. How do I work this thing? What just happened? Huh? Aargh! Computers just seemed more trouble than they were worth. Plus, they were ugly.
And then, years later, I was talking to someone about my computer ineptitude, and I’ll never forget what he said: “You should just get a Mac”. I didn’t think much of it at that moment. I knew that Mac was a computer and I sucked at computers so what could possibly be so different about a Mac? As far as I was concerned it was just another computer to aggravate me and remind me how incompetent I was when it came to technology. After I groaned some more this guy said again, without any elaboration, “just get a Mac.”. As if it was the definitive end-all solution to my problem. I was skeptical.
But I took his advice. I got a Mac. A laptop called an iBook. I distinctly remember the first night I spent with it – taking it out of the box, setting it up, smiling at the cheerful prompts, the cute Apple logo and attractive screensaver. It turned into hours of fun. No, it was better than fun. It was discovery. “This computer doesn’t hate me!”, I thought. This computer wants me to use it. I wasn’t just getting the hang of it. I was getting into it. Key difference there. I believe I stayed up until 2 or 3 in the morning, me and my new iBook. It was like a romantic date night!
With the sad passing of Apple founder and chairman Steve Jobs, I knew it wouldn’t be necessary for me to discuss the man’s accomplishments. You all have access to it. Obituaries and tributes are everywhere on the web, and they are as fascinating as the man himself. The words “creative genius”, “innovator”, “visionary”, etc are being applied, rightly and accurately. He absolutely was all of those things. So I figured I would simply share my own story about how Apple brought me personally right here, to this very moment: typing this blog post on my MacBook keyboard. All Museworthy posts have been done on a Mac. I’ve never owned a computer that wasn’t a Mac. It was Apple which brought me into our world as it is today. Many people didn’t require Apple to make that transition and I understand that. But I did require it, and I am grateful. I think many people had their psychological “computer barrier” fears broken down by Apple. For so long I had no flair for any of this. And now I am totally comfortable. Sharing, communicating, learning and exploring. Very cool.
RIP Steve Jobs. Adopted child, Buddhist, college dropout, entrepreneur, Apple founder, cancer sufferer, California native, husband, father, restless ambitious dreamer, the Thomas Edison of our time. Thank you 🙂