I am stupidly upset over Steve Jobs’ passing.
I’ve also decided to tell people I have really bad allergies today, and that’s why my eyes are wet.
I say “stupid” because unlike Walt Mossberg, Brian Lam, or any of the other people who have written truly moving tributes, I didn’t know Steve Jobs, and frankly, my “grief” feels a little self-indulgent. I feel like I’m crying because somebody took my iPad away.
Probably I just need to stop reading and writing about it.
Before I do that though, I’d like to point out one thing that was written about Jobs’ death that perhaps gets at why I’m so upset.
The thing about Steve was that he was a person who not only imagined beautiful, world-changing things, but also did all the extremely hard work of turning them into reality. He was not our generation’s Da Vinci. He was better than that. Da Vinci sketched stuff out and obscured his brilliant thoughts with backwards handwriting. Useless. Jobs put the reigns on thousands of hard-working geniuses and workers around the world and inspired and bullied them until they brought his sketches into perfect life. It was always pretty, and lots of people would be too delicate — maybe too “good” — to have gotten it done.
What I’m upset about, I think, is that I’m worried that we don’t have anyone else out there right now who is willing to be that guy.
In an at-times-funny, all-the-way moving “poem” that is charming in its self-aware poetical ineptitude, Dan Lyons — the former “Fake Steve Jobs” — also makes this point.
Steve Jobs, your greatest accomplishment
is what you did to us.
You gave us joy.
You restored our sense of childlike wonder.
You enabled us to live in a world where
we always believed that something amazing & magical
was just around the corner
and that the future would be better than the past
because in fact,
as long as you were alive,
Your name, old friend, is the definition of hope.
Not literally, I mean, not if you
look up “hope” in the dictionary,
but you know what I’m trying to say.
And now, with you gone,
what happens to us?
Have we reached our peak?
Our zenith? Our apogee?
Or some other word that means the highest point
you can reach?
I think maybe we have.
Because here’s what I see.
America in decline:
a civilisation unsure of itself,
adrift, confused, puffed up
with phony patriotism,
an empire run by number crunchers,
by MBAs & investment bankers
by quick-flippers & angel investors
who make nothing
who build nothing.
But you, Steve–
you flew in the face of that.
You were the one who invented,
who said no,
that’s not good enough,
go do it again.
Go make it amazing
& stop being such a whiny little bitch
because your kid is in a school play
& and you don’t want to work late.
People call you a visionary.
I believe that was literally true.
I believe you had a vision, way back
in the early days,
of where everything was headed
& once you’d had this vision
you set out to make it real,
the way a sculptor sees
a finished statue inside a block of marble
& slowly chips away
until everything unnecessary
has been removed
& the vision becomes real.
OK, so my point.
Last night, Larry Page and Mark Zuckerberg wrote moving tributes to Jobs.
From way over here at my tiny desk in a newsroom where I write about people who actually do incredible world-changing things, I say — again, perhaps a bit self-indulgently! — thanks guys…but just so you know!…the rest of us need you to step up now, and lead us onward. More magic please.