Upon learning of Steve Jobs’ passing last night, one of my first thoughts was “man, i am not looking forward to the deluge of FB status updates/tweets/blog posts about this”. After all, the majority of my social feeds are populated by my co-workers. This morning I arrived at work to find a black drape over the entrance and uncontrollably blurted out to no one, “are you fucking kidding me?”
But let me put indifferent cool points aside and say that having worked mainly in the creative fields where Apple computers have always reigned supreme (a brief stint as a graphic designer, a
failed on-off-on-again career as a musician), the majority of my adult life has depended on a working Mac. Even if i didn’t own an iPod until 2006 and still openly admit my Blackberry addiction, I have always been part of, surrounded and fascinated by the subculture of Apple loyalists.
Now would be a great time to insert some profound Jobs quote, but I’ll leave that to all the tech blogs who are at least 16 hours ahead of me. As just another person who relies on Macs to ultimately feed his family, all i can say is simply: thanks.
It’s not too much of a statement to call Steve Jobs the father of the modern creative class.
The first thing I ever wanted to be was an illustrator and the first place I ever really practiced that craft was on my Apple IIc. This was in the early ’80s, and despite the fact that my mother owned a small ad agency at the time, it wasn’t clear to me that Illustrator was a conceivable profession. I attempted to find a more practical application of my creative desires - Architect. But from this, too, I was dissuaded - “many architects simply spend their careers creating plumbing diagrams for office buildings” I recall being told. So I aimed for Doctor - surely this was unassailable! And off I went to Trinity College. With my Macintosh.
There, in my freshman year, I got my first email address and downloaded the Mosaic browser and learned what a hyperlink was and went for the first time to the many strange and beautiful destinations it could take me. There on the Internet and on my Mac I opened my consciousness to an entire world of media being made and people making it.
I began recalling more frequently the many preteen hours I’d spent with MacPaint and Print Shop. Sunday dawns filled with the incessant screeeeeeeech and whir, screeeeeech and whir of a dot matrix printer howling out a 14 foot banner: Happy Mother’s Day! Maybe there was an Illustrator still in me?
But by this time I was a writer. The die had been cast. I edited the Opinion section of The Trinity Tripod with Jamie Evans. In addition to writing and editing, we also had to lay out the section each Tuesday night before the printer pick-up on Wednesday morning at 6 AM. This was where I learned desktop publishing, in Quark and Photoshop, on top-of-the-line Macs.
Using those wonderful computers made this task fun. I could move pictures - and type! Oh those are called Drop Quotes! And slowly, as I completed all of the Pre-Med class requirements and contemplated taking the MCAT, I realized I didn’t need to take the MCAT, or become a doctor. I realized that being a creative professional was not just a possibility, but that it was happening - people just a few years ahead of me were graduating and doing just that! And I could too!
And if this feeling was strong enough to penetrate the thoroughly pre-Med, pre-Law and pre-Corporate ramparts of Trinity College I knew it was real. And all of these realizations happened face to face with and largely because of the power of Apple computers. And my entire career has followed. And I am not alone.
Some version of this story can surely be told by every one of my colleagues. We are not masters of the universe, we are pious citizens of the creative class. We are aesthetes and nitpickers, masochists and technophiles, organizers and disorganizers, pixel-pushers and stubborn brats, nerds and artists, oversharers and brilliant hermits, scientists and authors, gamblers and brigands, drawers and dreamers.
We are different.
We are different because of Steve Jobs.