And here we are, only four days away from Christmas of 2016, and I feel meh. For some reason. Whether it’s the Christmas weather forecast (Rain and 40 degrees means looking forward to White Christmas 2017) or the built in pressures of the season (we have to leave now if we’re going to have any joy so get in the car and it doesn’t matter if you have your boots on or not) — the root cause of my meh doesn’t matter as much as the result, which is also meh. I ask myself: where’s the joy? Choose joy! ‘Tis the season… right?
Listen: Our fifth-grade son has wisely selected to write his end of semester WorldChanger essay about Steve Jobs, cofounder of Apple and binary magician whose insight would handily cut through the current narrative which disconnects a huge corporation from its core audience, much like the cutting out of the 3.5mm jack that is meant to be now interpreted as archaic to us mere technical neophytes.
See? I’m feeling meh. But anyway.
Earlier today I held closely to a well populated to-do list that became much less important when Malachi wanted to do some research for his paper by firing up an old Macintosh SE computer that I keep around to celebrate progress over these past 30 years of legitimate personal computing, with our GUI’s and our Desktop Publishing and our Local Area Networks, a relic from an era when ARPANET seemed fascinating but lacked tangible usefulness to the public en masse. Thankfully Netscape and Al Gore changed that for us, mostly Netscape, and that’s why you’re reading this right now. We once used floppy disks (which were oddly not floppy but firm) to transport files from one computer to another, perhaps connected to a dot matrix printer that had so much rumble that the gang at Stanford once measured an ImageWriter II on the Richter. Sure, this fact might be gibberish made up on the spot, but if you’ve ever seen one of those rattletrap printers in action, I bet you believed it enough to want to google it later. Or now. Wait until later, though.
So Malachi wants me to stop what I’m doing and play with old computers as we watch videos of Steve Jobs introducing the Macintosh in 1984 and later the iPhone in 2007. But I have the things. To do. But… meh. So I reformatted my short term goals and aimed to be fully present to the moment, not mentally time shifted to the coming events but all the way here, at our kitchen table, on a Tuesday night at home. The wind blew fierce and the windows shook a little, and it was good to be inside with my family, laughing at how cool 30 year old technology still is. Say what you will, but the Macintosh operating system somehow maintains its charm with age. No, Steve Jobs wasn’t perfect, but he sure did impact our world as we know it. For Malachi, this was recreational homework that led to a completed assignment for school. For me it was a close call where my head was so far up my to do list that I almost missed a golden opportunity to be there.
Someone said it well: what you do for children is never wasted.
I am certainly glad I did that. We had a grand old time and — best of all — nothing caught fire. His paper is excellent, his appreciation for vintage computers is growing, and I am glad I came in handy and that I was fortunate enough to wander into the moment. I take no credit.