Courtesy of Postcards |
Apple Fans Scurry to Parse Steve Jobs's Final Words
By Phil Maggitti
PALO ALTO, Calif. - Apple watchers have begun what could be a long and winding effort to interpret the final words of Steve Jobs, who died of pancreatic cancer on October 5. Just before his death Mr. Jobs uttered the words that have sparked an interpretive frenzy, "Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow."
This utterance, like Mr. Jobs himself, is at once elegant and simple, exhibiting the trademark sleekness and beauty that are hallmarks of the Apple style. There are no wasted words here, but in this spareness lies their beauty.
"Steve revolutionized final statements, just like he revolutionized computers and cell phones," said an employee at an Apple store in Palo Alto, California. "Every time I read those words I find something new in them that I hadn't noticed before."
On web sites like steveslastwords.com the faithful have begun to debate the meaning of "Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow." That debate starts with punctuation. Some observers hold that Mr. Jobs spoke three sentences, not one. They argue, therefore, that each wow should be followed by a period and that each oh should be written with an uppercase O. A splinter group claims that each wow should be followed by an exclamation point, and among those who favor a one-sentence approach, some say the first two wows ought to be followed by commas while others prefer semi-colons.
As structuralists debate punctuation, others pore over the meaning of "Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow." Some even say the words have no meaning.
"I think 'Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow' was Steve's mantra," said a visitor on the What Did Steve Mean? Facebook page. "Wouldn't it be ironic if instead of some exotic mantra prescribed by a spiritual teacher, Steve used a hackneyed expression of wonder?"
"I wouldn't look for irony in these words," cautioned Mr. Jobs's friend Bono. "Steve didn't have an ironic bone in his body. I think he was hinting at some deeper truth, the way I always do in my music."
On web sites devoted to the final words of Mr. Jobs—including the gay stevedores.com site—dominant theories suggest that Mr. Jobs was speaking metaphorically at the end.
"Steve revolutionized the use of metaphors just like he revolutionized computers and cell phones," said Apple's aroma therapist, Winona.
Were Steve Jobs's final words a reaction to the dazzling white light that many people who have had near-death experiences report seeing? Was he responding in awe to scenes from his own life?
Answers to those questions may not come until book-length treatments of "Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow" are published. The first, from biographer Kitty Kelly, is due in stores this Friday. It's called The Steve Jobs I Didn't Talk To.
ŠThe fine print: the editorial content on this page is fictional.
Be advised to believe half of what you see and nothing of what you read. You must have a mental age no greater than eighteen to enjoy this shite.