I auditioned for a short film role this evening (a man who years before had to kill his wife in self-defense after discovering that she was a serial killer–and a witch. Yep, typecast again) and found myself rehearsing lines with a young lady currently living in Palo Alto. Between scenes she made a remark about how Apple was “Apple-izing” the entire world and then she casually added, “You know, I used to know Steve Jobs.”
“Yeah, we lived a few doors down from him. He gave me one of the first of these like, candy-colored bubble-shaped computers, it was bluish-”
“A Bondi Blue iMac?! Steve Jobs gave you a Bondi Blue iMac?!”
“I don’t remember the name, I was only in fifth grade.”
(I’ll pause here while you suddenly realize just how old you really are.)
“He was really nice to all of the kids in the neighborhood, his house had the best Hallowe’ens, we always went there. He came to the door himself and he would say things about our costumes, and then he gave away full-size candy bars. Not those bite-size ones. Full size.”
(Ed. Note: They’re never too young to become customers for life.)
“Except one Hallowe’en, he refused to give candy to my brother.”
“He didn’t have a costume. He didn’t yell at my brother, he just said, ‘Where’s your costume? You think I’m going to give you candy just because you walked around all night? Go get yourself a costume and come back here.”
(Suddenly I think of George C. Scott in Patton, always asking, “Where’s your helmet?”)
So her brother dashed around among their friends, borrowing pieces and scraps of various costumes and improvising something out of multiple characters.
She continued, “He went back to the Jobs house and knocked on the door. Steve Jobs came to the door, studied him for a minute, looking at my brother top to bottom, and he said. ‘I appreciate the effort.’ And gave him a candy bar.”
So there you have it, a perhaps lesser-known story about Steve Jobs. It sounds plausible to me, combining examples of his marketing skill with his attention to detail and obsession with critiquing and improving everything. Even the Hallowe’en costumes of other parents’ children.
What do you think? Sound plausible to you?
Vonn Scott Bair
PS–I used to feel so proud of myself for attending a BMUG meeting where an Apple rep let us see a prerelease Bondi Blue, back when no one cared what Apple did. But Steve Jobs never gave me one.
PPS–How appropriate that my 800th (!!) blog post should discuss the man responsible for the computer I used to create it.