I was on my way to my local grocer this evening when I learned on my iPhone that Steve Jobs had died. It was one of those moments that, as you grow older, become oh, so familiar... time stops, and that sharp pain of sadness dominates. My earliest memory of this kind of pain was the assassination of JFK, to whom my blog, this small planet, is dedicated, to the deaths of Martin Luther King, Jr., Bobby Kennedy, the Challenger explosion, the death of Teddy Kennedy, and even Ronald Reagan's, with whom I disagreed on almost every political issue, but who I admired for his positive personal presence.
The pain of the loss of Steve Jobs, though, is different, since he has been a constant personal companion to me over the years. Two years my junior, and one whom I had never personally met, he has deeply influenced my life through his creativity and vision. More than 25 years ago, as I tried to conform to the usual corporate requirement of using Microsoft based computers that hated me, I longed for an easier solution that would enable my own capacity for self expression. As years passed, my own loathing of Microsoft grew, and a yearned to break free from the "fatal error" syndrome that was occasional among my fellow workers, but epidemic for me.
Finally, in 2003, I was in a position to tunnel out from the prison camp of convention computing wisdom, and I bought my first Apple computer. My liberation from DOS bondage was instant, and complete. Since then, I have been 100% Mac, telling the Microsoft world to kiss my ass. In the ensuing years, I have run my businesses, written a multitude of blog posts, editorials, and my first book on machines created by Steve Jobs. Even today, I wake up to an iPad app that provides a gentle Zen gong alarm, get my news from HuffPost and the New York Times on my iPad, and share Sunday mornings and bloody marys with my family on my iPad's Facetime.
Steve Jobs has been a constant presence in my personal and business life for years. His creativity and vision has changed my life for the good. He was a close friend, even though he never knew it, and I'll never forget him.