Upon waking this morning, I was mildly surprised to hear that Steve Jobs had passed. A deluge of posts expressing grief, sorrow, and admiration for the technological innovator welcomed me upon logging onto Facebook. Every news channel and online media carried a version of the story which seemed to be replayed every 15 minutes. The main thought expressed by all was how original and genius he was; yet as I groomed and readied myself for class, one post in particular played through my mind – “I never thought I’d be so busted up about the loss of someone I never met” (Ashton Kutcher).
The passing of other celebrities usually rarely registers a blip with me; other than feeling sympathetic for their families, I go on with my day. I find the effusive grief and dismay expressed by non-Bahamian colleagues and friends over a celebrity’s death mildly amusing and am constantly dumbfounded by the extreme reaction of fans. “I mean, seriously, do you even know them?”, I’d think to myself. I’d always chocked it up to my roots – Bahamians fail to be star-struck by anyone; in fact, megastars have been quoted as saying the lack of attention they receive from the locals is one of the most charming parts of residing in The Bahamas. We even have a joke about it – ‘The only autograph that matters is at the bottom of a check!’
Now, I probably use just about every product Jobs’ has created and I love them; so much so that the only phone I have used for the last 6 years has been the iPhone and it houses everything – contacts, photos/memories, appointments, German/English translation app, grocery lists, games, train schedule, city map, and birthdays (of major importance as I’m super forgetful)! I practically live on my MacBook and iPad and some of my favorite movies were created by Pixar. I sing along to tunes on my iTouch as I try to create culinary wonders in my kitchen or clean up the mess when they’ve failed. Often, I’ve enthusiastically waxed lyrical (belatedly noticing the glazed eyes of my listener) about how wonderful the products are, how intelligently designed and well-conceived, how every product you could possibly need is combined into one elegant little gadget. As a dedicated Apple customer (no, I have not, and will never stand in line overnight for the latest edition), Jobs has touched and impacted my life. While I certainly won’t be flying to Silicone Valley for a midnight vigil or even adapting my profile picture in tribute; I am forced to admit that like Kutcher, I am a bit broken up over the passing of someone I’ve never met. And now, I can finally empathize with others’ strong emotions for their favorite celebrities.