WILL UNWOUND #577: “Revenge of the iGod…part 1″October 10, 2011
As my three year old granddaughter, Sophia would say…..Woooowhoooooowooooo.
That’s the sound she makes when we play “ghost,” a hybrid of chase, hide and go seek, and kick the can. I invented the game. She also loves to hear my ghost stories, a ghoulish medley of tall tales involving the family of eccentric ghosts that lived in the sub basement (a secret subterranean chamber only I knew about) under my boyhood home.
Then all of this happened…all of it true.
Last night I wrote my reaction to the death of Steve Jobs. To say the least, it was mixed. I criticized the deification of Him as an iGod by media outlets hungry for high ratings and by a generation of digital natives who worship at the altar of Apple. I was particularly critical of the view that Jobs’ products have soul and that the products of his competitors do not. To me a metal box filled with circuit boards is, a priori, soulless no matter how cool it looks.
Late last night Steve Jobs had his revenge. A few hours before dawn his visage…the wire specs, the mock turtleneck, the boyish face, the faint smile…appeared in my dream. He was sitting in the Lotus position under a leafy tree laden with shiny red fruit, each one missing a byte. Down he gazed at me with a look of amused irony as calm as Buddha himself.
The next morning seemed normal. My wife nudged me awake from my reveries. I stumbled out of bed, got dressed, and then wandered over to my aging desktop computer to check the weather, the east coast football scores, and the early comments to my blog post on the death of the anointed one…the ghost of my dreams…Mr. Jobs.
Nothingness. A black screen. No buzzing. No flickering. Nada. The sound of one hand clapping. The tree that fell in the deserted forest. If a functioning computer is, a priori, soulless, what does that make a non-functioning computer? A piece of lifeless junk? Wait…something did seem to be emanating out of that box…a whimper, a sigh, a chuckle? Get a grip, old man. Get a grip. Ghosts only exist in your stories to Sophia.
Next stop: Best Buy, but first a quick detour to the bank to transfer the money into my checking account, money that I would need to buy a new computer. They all know me at the bank. I’d like to say it’s me. But the truth is this bank doesn’t have a lot of customers so you basically get the royal treatment everytime you walk in. So it’s red carpet for everyone.
“Will,” my favorite teller greeted me, “how’s your day shaping up?”
“Not good,” I answered. “My computer died and I need to buy a new one.”
The teller smiled brightly and said: “Get a MacBook Pro.” I have one and love it. It’s got soul.”
The teller next to her said: “Yeah, Will, get a Mac. All the cool people have Macs.”
Then the branch manager came over and said, “Mac is the way to go, Will. It’s got all the latest stuff.”
Finally the loan officer whom I worked with for my raccoon property improvement loan sauntered over and said, “Will, Steve Jobs was a genius. You’ve got to get the Mac in his memory!”
Spooky, right? I couldn’t exit that bank fast enough. I got in my car and reminded myself a computer is a computer. Repeat after me…a metal box filled with circuit boards does not have soul.”
Then I got to Best Buy, and the first thing I saw was a big poster of the smiling Buddha, himself, Steve Jobs.
To be continued tomorrow…maybe.