I’ve used Apple computers since 1982.*
Before my family got one, my computer experience was limited to the one at school. It was at a desk in the center area, and we’d all wait for our turn to sit and use it. It had glowing green type on a dark greenish screen, and the coolest thing anyone knew how to do with it was program a word to repeat all the way down the screen in the shape of a Christmas tree. I only remember the last command: “RUN.”
Then, some family friends got an Apple. We got to try it out at their Chanukah party. No one cared about potato latkes or dreidels or even Smurfs, which we all got as Chanukah presents. It was all about the Apple.
It was so much cooler than the one in school, if only for two reasons:
1) the rainbow apple logo
2) video games
On the Apple, Asteroids looked just like in the real arcade game! It blew my Atari out of the water.
I begged my parents to get one, and they did. It came with a bunch of floppy disks – a word processing program, some other stuff I didn’t care about, and an awesome video game.
Actually, it wasn’t really a “video” game, because there were no graphics. It was all text-based, but I played it for hours and hours. It was essentially a choose-your-own-adventure game, just like the books, except on computer and pornographic.
It took you through whore houses, porn shoots, and other nasty places. If you did well, you got to screw another hooker. If you messed up, you got syphilis. Those are the only details I remember.
We had that Apple through my high school years, by which time I’d outgrown porno video games. Or just that one game, which was all I had. You could only get to a certain level whore house, and then it got frustrating. So I stopped using the computer so much, which gave my mother more time on it — to type my term papers.
Freshman year of college, since my mom and the Apple weren’t in my dorm, I typed my own papers — torturously, on an electric typewriter. It was a very technologically advanced typewriter, though, because it had a correction feature. One which didn’t work so well, so I had to use White Out anyway.
By Sophomore year, the Mac had come out.
I got one, with a dot matrix printer that took about 2 hours to print a page and chugged like an old-timey train. That computer was a revelation. Being able to correct your mistakes right on the screen? Not having to write every paper in longhand and then copy it on the typewriter? Awesome.
The not awesome thing was when you’d stay up all night writing the best paper of your life, like the one I wrote on Candide, only to have it disappear completely. I’m sick just thinking about it. I had to reconstruct that whole Candide paper. The original was so much better.
Later, I learned the mantra “Apple-S is your friend.” That’s the Save command, if you’re not a Mac person.
Since the 90s, I’ve had a bunch of Macbooks. Probably every version except the translucent clamshell one.
I’ve cursed them all and their taunting, spinning pinwheels (“I hate you, you slow motherfucker!”) but I’ve always loved them. And I love my iphone, and my ipad, and the ipods of different sizes and generations scattered throughout different junk drawers.
I like to think some of them have found each other. They’re Apple diaspora.
Thanks, Steve Jobs.
Hastily dashed off on my beloved MacBook Pro. Please excuse typos.
*Exact year not yet fact-checked with my mother.