I'm embarrassed to say that until he died, I didn't really know who Steve Jobs was. I'd heard the name before, but more than likely mixed him up with either Steve Forbes, that guy who ran for President of the United States a couple of times, or Menial Jobs, that work you get after completing a degree in the Fine Arts.
Anyway, the outpouring of grief at his passing really surprised me, as did the long list of Apple products and concepts that were attributed to him, like the iMac, iPod and iTunes, the iPhone, the iPad, and that thing where if you hit the lid of a pickle jar with the side of a knife, it opens more easily and makes that really satisfying "thwock" sound. In a sense, Jobs was responsible for many of the ways in which we live our modern life. For instance, sometimes I'll be out with a group of friends, and one of them will check his iPhone and set off a kind of chain reaction where everybody decides to also check their iPhone at the exact same time, and so I'm forced to grab a nearby spoon and examine it closely, like it's just as fun. Thanks, Steve.
But aside from the obvious appeal of his inventions, I think Jobs is so highly regarded thanks to a sort of folk hero status. He invented all of these things by himself, it is said, and in so doing, turned Apple around from near bankruptcy to technological domination. He changed the world, just by coming up with a phone that sometimes dials itself when it's resting in your pocket.
Dream: Invent some world-changing things.
Goal: Achievable. One time Dr. Jon and I bought a futon and it was delivered to our apartment disassembled, and Jon was away teaching or picking wildflowers or some shit, so it was up to me to put it together myself. Spilled some coffee on the instructions. Writing this blog today from that futon which I put together all those years ago by myself without instructions because I have a creative and inventive mind. Also, I know I've mentioned this before, but I'm able to coordinate my toilet flushing so that it hits it's zenith just as I'm finished peeing. Like to the second. Therefore I am resourceful and efficient, so there's that.
Plan: Spitball, riff with it, there are no bad suggestions, be an idea machine, invent stuff. Such as:
- A soda fountain type of thing that contains other important liquids you need like barbecue sauce, laundry detergent, sunscreen, creamed corn.
- A washing machine that is also a dryer. Why can't you just leave your clothes in there? Now you can.
- An alarm clock pill. We have pills that keep your cholesterol low, pills to prevent pregnancy, pills that give us wild boners. Why isn't there a time-release pill that will relax your body when you first take it, and wake you up, say, eight hours later?
- A mechanical duck that puts all of your keys on a key ring because it's so hard to do that why not outsource it to a duck?
- A peer pressure machine. Like a blood pressure machine, but all of it's bells and whistles work in concert to convince you to do something (lose weight, stop smoking, start smoking, gain weight, whatever you want)
- A sound system that plays only the good parts of songs. In the Air Tonight is just that sweet drum fill, for instance.
- Self-buttoning slacks
- A toothbrush with toothpaste spring-loaded so you just push a button and boom, ready to go.
- Heated cup-holders in your car. But don't forget to turn those off lest you reach down to shift gears and burn your hands off.
- Tip of the Tongue! A little ball with a speaker on it that has random proper nouns stored inside and, in all likelihood, can supply the quick answer to that thing you just can't think of. It makes the noise when you bounce it, so the next time you're stuck, just bounce Tip of the Tongue! “Boise, Idaho. Steve Winwood. Checkers.” “YES!!! That was Nixon's dog!”
- Un-gross oatmeal.
- Honest Twitter. This easily downloaded app will tell you at any given time what your friends are really doing. It's like a CNN news crawl with “Some bullshit... some bullshit... some bullshit” over and over again.
- An aluminium boombox which is filled with helium that plays “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel that's SUPER easy to hold up outside someone's window.
Sorry guys, this is some weak sauce this Thursday. In truth, I'm waiting on a few choice contributions for a bigger, better Big City James entry to come, I hope, really soon. My first real shot at reportage, if you will, that I mustn't rush. But if I could invent something that would really change the world, I suppose my paltry missives here wouldn't amount to much by comparison. So, for now, keep yer mechanical ducks, I gots me a blog.