On Steve Jobs, Santa Claus and Making Magic

It’s taken me a few days to sort out my thoughts about Steve Jobs.

His death affected me far more than I would have expected and I’ve been trying to work out why. Yes I love my iMac and my Macbook Pro.

And my iPad.

And my iPod.

But even though I love my Apple technology, I haven’t really seen myself as a true Apple fangirl and I’ve given very little thought to Steve Jobs over the years.

And yet I’m crying

That’s why finding my eyes filling with tears reading the obituaries came as a true surprise. Why was I scouring the web looking for more? Why did I feel this sense of real loss over someone I never gave much thought to while he was alive? Why did I feel so damn sad?

And what’s more, why was I not alone in this? The eulogies weren’t limited to tech blogs or the national newspapers. Every website I read commented on the news. Everybody I talked to mentioned it. Many of them were people who don’t even own a single Mac product. And yet there we all were, sharing in a sense of global loss.

“Now I’d Like to Show You Macintosh in Person”

I finally realized what it was while watching a video of a very young Steve Jobs announcing the first Macintosh computer, a machine that was to revolutionize all our lives by introducing the graphical user interface. In the video, Jobs relishes the big reveal, excited like a little child by the chance to show off its powers. And the audience is riveted. Howls and whoops of real excitement greet every special effect and when the machine actually talks, well the entire crowd jumps to its feet. And as they cheer, Jobs tries to keep from crying, his smile as wide as I’ve ever seen it, his pride impossible to miss.


Steve Jobs was Santa Claus

And that’s when it hit me. Steve Jobs was Santa Claus for adults. We don’t get to be surprised very often once we leave childhood. We don’t believe in fairies and magic and men who come down the chimney and leave us exciting presents. But in recent years, some of us had Steve Jobs.

Every few years, we knew he’d come out onto a darkened stage and hold up something brand new – something we couldn’t have even imagined until we saw it, but something we instantly knew would brighten our lives immeasurably. And somehow, even though we had no idea, he knew it was exactly what we’d always wanted, and he was thrilled to share it with us.

The magical new invention was never something we needed. It wouldn’t help do the chores, or cook our meals, or heal us if we got sick. Instead, just like the best childhood Christmas presents, it was all about fun and filled with possibility.

And so with Steve’s passing, we’ve lost a lot more than another rich CEO. We’ve lost our Santa Claus and he’s never coming back.

Revamped Apple logo by Jonathan Mak Long

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