People I Love Who Invented Things That I Love: Steve Jobs

If you’re like me, when you heard about the passing of Steve Jobs, you had a panicked moment where all you could think about was how much more Mr. Jobs had to give the world, and how sad you were to be robbed of the fruits of those years. My love for Mr. Jobs is a selfish one, but it made me think how much I have come to depend on him to be the one — clad in signature black from the waist up, like my Pacific Northwest Johnny Cash– to introduce me every year (or if we were lucky, twice a year) to some technology so amazing and fun you hoped that you were the one who got to break it to your friends.

If you’re also like me, you looked around the internet to learn more about him. I found out a few sad things, of course. One was how he passed away. Mr. Jobs battled a rare form of pancreatic cancer, neuroendocrine cancer. I have a relationship with pancreatic cancer, which has astoundingly, the same one-year survival rate as it did forty years ago – a mere 5%.

Julie Fleshman of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network said it well, of Jobs’ passing: “It is also a stunning reality that even those who have unlimited access to the highest level of care available cannot defeat this insidious disease.” Those of us who know and love people with this sad disease could see from Mr. Jobs extended periods of time off, and gaunt frame, that this was a man fighting for his life. I felt inspired to donate to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, a truly wonderful resource that actively petitions our leaders to provide more money for research for this incredibly under-funded disease. If you want to donate too, you can! Just go here: http://www.pancan.org/index.php
Donating there was something that I bought that I really love.

I also learned that Steve Jobs was adopted. Adopted. My God. This, to me is a movie in itself. Can you imagine adopting a baby and watching him grow up to be this kind of historically important thinker? His brain itself already so miraculous and mysterious. And now, fell into the lap of these loving parents through adoption? In my mind, the Jobs family found him floating down a river like Moses. People can tell me otherwise, but that’s what I’ll always believe, sorry.

I was delighted to find this great picture of him from when he was a younger.

I had this computer! My older brother and I fought over it to see who could play Gauntlet on it. And then I saw this picture, where Mr. Jobs is excitedly presenting the very computer I am writing this blog on:

That’s an almost thirty year span of computers he’s created that I’ve depended on and loved. And for every change in technology, every tweak made to make the computer more and more perfect, I’ve stuck with him to see what would happen next. Many of us have had a lengthy, happy marriages to Steve Jobs creations. That’s pretty amazing.

And then I found something he said which really stuck with me. Mr. Jobs considered himself an artist, which I love. Here it is:

One of my role models is Bob Dylan. As I grew up, I learned the lyrics to all his songs and watched him never stand still. If you look at the artists, if they get really good, it always occurs to them at some point that they can do this one thing for the rest of their lives, and they can be really successful to the outside world but not really be successful to themselves. That’s the moment that an artist really decides who he or she is. If they keep on risking failure, they’re still artists. Dylan and Picasso were always risking failure. This Apple thing is that way for me. I don’t want to fail, of course. But even though I didn’t know how bad things really were, I still had a lot to think about before I said yes. I had to consider the implications for Pixar, for my family, for my reputation. I decided that I didn’t really care, because this is what I want to do. If I try my best and fail, well, I’ve tried my best.

—CNNMoney/Fortune, November 9, 1998

Rest in peace, Mr. Jobs. You are the best.

COMMENTS

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  1. Aw, yes to all of this. And I am so glad you’re blogging again!

    Adrien | October 6, 2011 | Reply

  2. I’ve seen a lot of tributes to Steve Jobs in the 15+ hours since learning the news of his passing, but yours is the first one that both made me laugh and brought tears to my eyes. I wiped them off my cheeks before they could fall onto my MacBook.
    Thanks for everything, Mr. Jobs. The world is less awesome today without you.

    Betty | October 6, 2011 | Reply

  3. Even weirder, Steve Jobs’ biological parents had a second child together, one that they did not put up for adoption. That child grew up to be Mona Simpson, a successful novelist and essayist. Even though she and Jobs are full-blooded siblings, they didn’t find out about their relationship till well into their respective careers.

    In addition, Homer Simpson’s mother is named after her.

    Steve Lovelace | October 6, 2011 | Reply

  4. Thank you for this, Mindy. I completely agree with everything you said. I’ve been married to his creations for almost 10 years and have never looked back.

    Danielle Warren | October 6, 2011 | Reply

  5. I can’t wait for the movie. What an amazing human being.

    Em | October 6, 2011 | Reply

  6. i started with an apple II plus and have a MacBook Air today. iSad.

    lynn @ the actor's diet | October 6, 2011 | Reply

  7. This is a great post about Mr. Jobs. I didn’t know he was adopted! Wild.

    Janice | October 6, 2011 | Reply

  8. I have seen you tweet links several times about pancreatic cancer, and I am sorry that it is a disease that has touched your life. My dad passed away a few years ago from pancreatic cancer, and I just wanted to thank you for your advocacy. (Also, I am excited your blog is back.)

    Kari | October 6, 2011 | Reply

  9. I love this tribute to Steve Jobs. I had no idea he was suffering from Pancreatic Cancer. The fact that he lived so long with it is truely a miracle to the human race. I am a macbook user, ipod listener, iphone wanter, and itouch lover. He will be missed

    Chelsea | October 6, 2011 | Reply

  10. My dad is in the midst of the same crazy rare islet cell pancreatic cancer Mr. Jobs had. It’s so surreal and humbling. Thank you for being a voice for the cause. xoxo And I’m so glad your blog is back :) I’ve missed it!!

    Ally | October 6, 2011 | Reply

  11. Mindy,
    “I decided that I didn’t really care, because this is what I want to do. If I try my best and fail, well, I’ve tried my best.”
    I breathed a little easier this morning after reading that quote- thanks for posting it.

    I’m sorry to hear you have personal experience with this viscous type of cancer.

    xo
    Melina

    Melina | October 6, 2011 | Reply

  12. Thanks for writing your thoughts about Steve Jobs.

    Using Apple products made it possible for me to make the transition from commercial artist to engineer to screenwriter. As empowering and groundbreaking as those products are, they are more important as an expression of Steve’s tenacity and aesthetic courage.

    mark martino | October 6, 2011 | Reply

  13. Ah! I’ve been talking today how sad I feel that he’s passed away, even though I don’t Mr. Jobs. You’re right on the money, as always, with what you’ve got to say. Thanks for sharing this. I’m going to start writing the script for the Baby Steve Jobs floating down the river movie. It’ll be like Blindside meets The Ten Commandments meets Superman. Get ready.

    emily | October 6, 2011 | Reply

  14. Great post, Mindy. I tweeted this to you already, but I can be a little clearer here: I first read about Steve’s personal history and childhood of adoption in 2008, in an amazing, sweeping Esquire profile by Tom Junod. I really started to identify with him back then, even owning no other Apple stuff beside an iPod.

    I think you would really enjoy the profile, which is easy to find. I’ve collected that and other links about Steve’s life, especially his last chapter, over at my blog. The link for the post is http://bit.ly/GoodbyeBuddy … I hope he’s resting easy now, despite the inner turmoil he seems to have faced in his life. :/

    <3,

    Stefano

    StefanoBlack▒ | October 6, 2011 | Reply

  15. Mindy,

    I’ve never read your blog before, but I’m glad it exists. I’ve had a rough couple of months, which began with the death of a friend from pancreatic cancer. I needed to read your thoughtful words and gentle perspective on Steve’s life and legacy. I am inspired.

    Thank you,

    Jéhan

    JEhAn | October 7, 2011 | Reply

  16. I’m so glad that you mentioned PanCan! My Dad is a rare survivor of pancreatic cancer, it was found early and they were able to remove it but there is always a fear that it will come back. Pancreatic cancer is such a deadly disease and I’m so glad that you contributed!

    DWJ | October 7, 2011 | Reply

  17. He was a cool guy who worked his ass off and made a lot of money. But please let us not turn him into a god. Here is something one of his peers said–

    “Steve Jobs, the pioneer of the computer as a jail made cool, designed to sever fools from their freedom, has died.

    As Chicago Mayor Harold Washington said of the corrupt former Mayor Daley, “I’m not glad he’s dead, but I’m glad he’s gone.” Nobody deserves to have to die – not Jobs, not Mr. Bill, not even people guilty of bigger evils than theirs. But we all deserve the end of Jobs’ malign influence on people’s computing.

    Unfortunately, that influence continues despite his absence. We can only hope his successors, as they attempt to carry on his legacy, will be less effective.” –Richard Stallman

    http://stallman.org/archives/2011-jul-oct.html#06_October_2011_(Steve_Jobs)

    Whatsisname | October 10, 2011 | Reply

  18. this is lovely.

    karis | October 10, 2011 | Reply

  19. Very well written Mindy! I couldn’t agree more. It was a sad end to a life of an amazing man and he will be greatly missed.

    Sara B | October 11, 2011 | Reply

  20. You certainly have captured the true spirit of Steve Jobs and his work. I cannot agree more with this article. Well-executed on all levels!

    Stacy | October 24, 2011 | Reply