I've been a Mac user since 2002 (and like most other dedicated Mac users, yes, I say that with a certain sense of smug superiority) but I'm no big Apple nut. I've never watched a Keynote, don't have the sticker on my car, didn't rush out to replace my iPod Touch when my toddler threw it in the trash, and my main interest in Apple's line of operating systems is when they're going to run out of species of large cats. So aside from Steve Jobs being an obvious cultural icon, you wouldn't think his death would matter much to me. I mean, I'm just this suburban stay-at-home mom, right? What do I care about the passing of some CEO? Some incredibly brilliant, world-changing, paradigm-shifting CEO?
The weird thing is, I find myself caring deeply. I never followed Jobs' career very closely, his ascent and descent and then mega-skyrocket, and until I googled him tonight, knew next to nothing about his personal life. What I have seen, though, is his tremendous inspirational impact on my husband. For years, Anthony has talked about Jobs' genius for innovation, his simple yet effective approach to design, and a variety of other qualities that have made Apple a totally unique business and brand. And through our discussions about Jobs, I have come to recognize (who wouldn't?) why he has long stood out as a hero for my husband. Because truly, someone like him, someone who SERIOUSLY changes the world, only comes around every great, great once in awhile. Articles online are comparing him to Edison left and right, but in far fewer years than Edison, he revolutionized this world. And I don't even care about the revolution itself so much--in many ways, I'm your quintessential Luddite clinging to my Discman, and I still refuse to type on the wee, beady iPad keys--but I simply have to stand in awe of the power of the individual. Marking Jobs' passing is one of those strange moments when you know you're living out history. I don't know if people during the Renaissance thought, Wow, this is one heck of a renaissance we're experiencing here! but 21st century me knows I am living in a technological revolution, and I know (although I'm sure he worked with a team of great minds) Steve Jobs was largely responsible for that revolution.
I know I'm not saying anything new. I know that a bo-jillion other bloggers out there are eulogizing and weeping and teeth-gnashing over this guy's demise, heaping upon him the same kind of adulations I just have. The difference, to me, is perspective. If even I, Mrs. Joe Schmoe American Housewife, am touched and saddened by this stranger's death, I think he must have been something very special indeed--an unlikely hero for this unlikely fan.