The announcement of his resignation, the sadly horrifying photos I saw of him leaving a clinic only two days or so after that resignation, and the news I knew would most likely come and strangely wondered how much more terrible it would be should that news come before, during or following yesterday's new product announcements... found me completely unprepared for Mr. Jobs' passing.
I've had my ups and downs with Jobs over the years. My Mac-based technological disagreements, and my avid, even somewhat bitter disagreements with him over his political positions, support and views, never got in the way of my complete admiration and respect for him as a visionary and a man who would eventually change the world in ways possibly none of us would have imagined in the early 90's, or ever. That is, until now -- as it stares me down, looks me right in my face, and I sit here surprisingly stunned and deeply, deeply saddened. I feel as if a part of my own life has been extinguished... never to return again.
The rumors of our immortality have been greatly exaggerated!
I truly thought Mr. Jobs would pull out of this, continue in his new role as "Chairman", and continue to guide Apple with the brave and bold new ideas we've come to expect... as he's done for what seems like a technological eternity now. All too painfully, it was not to be.
I somehow, subconsciously succeeded in fooling myself into believing Mr. Jobs wasn't as sick as some surmised, even after seeing him so void of virtually any remaining muscle tone in those horrible images some near-heartless reporter felt the need to post all over the internet, only a day or so after Mr. Jobs' announcement of resignation as CEO of Apple. I seriously couldn't imagine my "modern" technological world void of the likes of Steve Jobs... nor did I realize if that became a reality it would deal me such a surprisingly cutting blow!
After seeing those shocking images of Steve leaving that clinic, any and all negative feelings over past irritating actions and/or politically/societally-based anger I at times felt toward Mr. Jobs diminished into extreme mental and emotional triviality.
The images immediately presented me with deeply entrenched sadness, compassion, and helplessness over the fact that there was an old friend struggling beyond anything any of us [hopefully] will ever have to experience. And at the same time I knew I was completely useless to help that still-dreaming little boy who found himself trapped in that prematurely-aging and hurting man's body. Even his apparent steps in those heart-breaking images portrayed a man in excruciating pain, no-doubt wondering why he must physically negotiate such an ordeal, and what would become of him. "Stunned" was a word not nearly adequate enough in describing what I experienced when seeing him. Stunned for Mr. Jobs first, and for myself in witnessing just how how quickly a terrible illness can rob a formerly robust and proud person of their health, appearance, and yes, the very dignity they once carried and portrayed and so confidently.
I don't attribute God-like status to Mr. Jobs. I don't even know if the world would have been a lesser place without Mr. Jobs. Except for one simple fact... there indeed was a Steve Jobs! And as a result he in fact did make people's lives better in so many ways. Perhaps in ways most do not normally even consider. Who knows in what ways Steve Jobs -- especially considering his success and wealth -- made people's lives better, in ways none of us will ever know of.
Yet again, I can't help but think there aren't many people the likes of Mr. Jobs that one can behold in any of our brief lifetimes. Sadly, there may never be another Steve Jobs for Apple. Sadly, there may never be another dreamer like Mr. Jobs -- with the resources and abilities he possessed to be able to effect the change and/or make dreams such realities -- in our lifetime.
The genius, determination, visionary boldness and little boy-like enthusiasm for the impossible and improbable that was and so apparently saturated the very soul of Steve Jobs may never present itself again to many of us living today. To say Mr. Jobs was exceptional must be one of the understatements of modern history.
Steve Jobs represented something else to me. He was the embodiment of what America once was. The America that used to go to the moon, dream of searching the outer reaches of the galaxy, and be willing to tread there fearlessly. The America that was the innovator of the entire world. The America who's leaders not only believed in, but encouraged all of its citizens to dream big and accomplish much. This in stark contrast to the "leaders" of today who so opportunistically embed into most Americans -- especially the poor -- the negative thought that they cannot succeed without having to depend on and desperately cling to those disingenuous politicians' more-often-than-not blank, vain and narcissistic promises.
Strange thing. Those who find themselves clinging to those types of false hopes also find themselves living in near-endless poverty and in many instances, near-complete squalor, year-after-year.
Steve Jobs was, in many ways, the embodiment of what America once stood for and promised to all who were willing to dream a dream, and work hard in order to see that dream come to fruition. Even though he probably would have vehemently disagreed with me politically, in so many ways, whether he realized it or not, Mr. Jobs was the product of an American environment that used to encourage people, instead of this disgustingly discouraging state of mind and world demeanor we now find ourselves in.
I shudder to think of how many Steve Jobs there may be out there. Those who's dreams and ideas will never see the light of day, who's dreams and visions will never become reality, and who instead live out each day in hopelessness and despair because too few of our leaders encourage us to, not only succeed, but to excel and strive for excellence in everything we do. Those days appear to be largely and sadly behind us. It is truly the most tragic thing of our time, and of all of human history.
No... Steve Jobs was no Saint who would have saved the world from it's sometimes miserable self. Yet, he represented something good and worthwhile about life to me, and apparently to many others around the confused and overburdened world each of us must contend with on a daily basis.
I didn't actually know Steve, personally. Yet, like many of us, he became more of a part of my life than even I realized... that is until I realized he was fatefully no longer with us.
When I heard the news I pulled my car over, remembered those shocking photos of a once strong, healthy and smiling Steve Jobs -- whose excitement overflowed when giving one of his beloved keynotes to those who most appreciated his offerings and the all-too-often genius behind them -- and I cried like a little boy who had just been told by his mom or dad that one of his best friends had passed away.
I cannot imagine the grief his wife and family must be experiencing now. I cannot imagine waking up the next morning after the previous day's nightmare and having to experience anew the all-too-tragic realization that someone you love and cared for more than anyone else in this world would no longer be there to share your life and it's memories with you.
56 short years are just that... far too short! I have no doubt this man would have continued his technological brilliance and invention with child-like confidence and enthusiasm, had this sickeningly hellish disease not prematurely robbed him of everything his life stood for. Who knows what unspoken, unrealized ideas and invention Mr. Jobs carries with him to that place we all must sadly go some day.
All I can say is, "BRAVO, Mr. Jobs!" Small and inadequate commentary indeed, for such a man as Steve Jobs.
I lament your passing in ways I cannot even put into words. I never thought I would be so completely sad, shedding tears over someone I never knew personally. Maybe because that always dreaming, always curious, always hopeful child-like enthusiasm Mr. Jobs wore so well is a huge part of us all... deep within each of us. When someone dares to go after their dreams with such relentless enthusiasm as Mr. Jobs, maybe it stirs a familiarity within each of us, an admiration for each of us, and a family-like link and reaching hand to all of us.
I will most assuredly miss you, Steve Jobs. Apple will never be the same, the technological world as a whole will surely not be the same, and I will somehow never be the same.
You've managed to bring a large array of thoughts and emotions out of me throughout the years... and in your death you've brought some things out of me I rarely experience or even have the opportunity to acknowledge of myself, or of others.
Sadly, and I think cruelly, life goes on. I wish there were more I could say and I wish there were more I could have done for you in your suffering, and for your family in your passing, Mr. Jobs. I can say is you've earned my respect, regardless of existing differences... and I can only hope to accomplish a fraction of what you've accomplished in your sad and tragically brief, shortened lifetime.
You'll no doubt take your place in the annuls of human history and accomplishment beside those you held up as examples when attempting to get people to "Think Differently". When it comes to insight, creative genius and accomplishment, I believe you indeed deserve your position beside those very rare examples too, Steve Jobs.
Tell all of those, your positive life heroes, examples and role models we said "Hello" Thanks for all you've done to hopefully inspire humans to be the best they can be... to accomplish all they can accomplish... to dream as vividly as one's precious spirit allows... and to go after those dreams like there's no tomorrow. After all, one day, for each of us, there will just as sadly be no more earthly tomorrow!
God bless you, Steve Jobs... rest in peace, my long-time friend! I for one, will miss your presence greatly!
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