Read every word of this letter. We are the cops and we are not fucking around.
Steve Jobs died a week ago. No one reading your blog would know that. We keep hitting refresh, but there is still no assessment of his life, legacy, and cultural impact. Is our browser broken? No dude, YOU are broken.
By 10:00 PM Palo Alto time, you will post a reflection on Steve Jobs. Regardless of your own ignorance of his life or of the computer industry, you will weigh his contribution to society and make predictions about his legacy. Correction: forget “predictions.” Act like you’re a chrononaut from centuries hence and tell us with certitude what is going to happen. That’s what everyone else is doing, and you, my friend, are no different. Chrononaut means time-traveler.
If you fail to post an assessment of Steve Jobs by 10:00 PM Cupertino time, then you can kiss your blog goodbye. You can kiss this email account goodbye. You can kiss your whooooole online presence adios, from your Facebook account to your Twitter feed to your Classmates.com profile (which you still pointlessly maintain).
And just so you know that this ain’t no church picnic we’ re running here…
[The moment I read those ellipses, my doorbell rang. I slowly walked to my door, carefully turned the knob, afraidily opened it... A single 700 x 25 bike wheel that had been leaned against the door fell across my threshold.]
…we also stole your bike. If you ever want to see your handlebars, frame, rear wheel, and crankset again, then POST A REFLECTION ABOUT STEVE JOBS BY 10:00 PM APPLE STANDARD TIME.
Sincerely as a fuckin’ heart attack, bro,
Gulp! OK, here goes...
Steve Jobs was the Bill Gates of computers. Sure, I probably would have had a digital music player without him. It would have been the size of a wallet, just like my iPod. It too would have held thousands of songs, had Steve Jobs not existed or, say, been a tuba instructor. But it wouldn’t have been as good and it would have been far uglier.
Efficiency and beauty—or maybe it’s beauty first and efficiency second. Hard to say, but those are the two things most people think of when they think of Apple products. Even naysayers concede this point when they jeer, “You’re only getting a Mac because it’s pretty.” Duh. If I’m gonna use something for hours every single day, I better like looking at it. It’s like saying, “You’re only dating your girlfriend because you find her sexually attractive.”
Yet an Apple product is more than just a pretty face. It’s more like an attractive, reliable, low-maintenance girlfriend you know will never give you a virus. And you’ll never have to call strangers in Bangalore to bitch about her.
(By the way, have you noticed that anti-Apple people are almost exclusively the sort of nerds who can buy RAM, a video card and some storage, salvage and old motherboard and a fan, and then whip up their own computer? At least, they are the type who can say what is technically lacking in that sentence. It doesn’t bother me that I can’t customize the operating system on a Mac because I wouldn’t know how to customize one on a non-Mac. So, the most salient objection to buying a Mac is one that does not apply to 99% of the population.)
Was Steve Jobs a good man? Who knows. I didn’t really follow the guy. I just want my bike back. If my Classmates.com profile disappears, then I don’t know what how I will connect with my old high school pals. Anyway, Steve Jobs was the ultimate secular saint, and a secular saint need not be good. He just needs to be good at something. Candle-lit shrines popped up around his churches (Apple stores) because he did what he did extremely well, like the good people at Classmates.com no matter what anyone says.
The bottom line is: Classmates.com is the best way to reconnect with high school friends and browse yearbooks covering more than 30 million people, and give me back my bike. It’s my main mode of transportation. I’m telling you, I can’t take the El anymore. By “take,” I mean “handle.” I can “take” it to work but I won’t “like” it. An iPod helps, but only barely. Not even Steve Jobs could make an El commute fun. The other thing about Steve Jobs is, no one calls him “Jobs.” It’s always “Steve Jobs.” That may be because his last name is a common noun and his first name is too informal. Like, there are no presidents, English kings, or Popes named “Steve.” (OK, looks like there were a bunch of Pope Stephens, but that's not the same.) So, you gotta say both “Steve” and “Jobs” to give it heft. The end.
Now can I have the rest of my bike back?