The first part of this blog post was written on the 5th October.
I reached the bus stop this morning just as the bus was pulling away from it. On this occasion however I did not get annoyed and scream curses at the bus driver as I did the time before as written about in this blog post from July. I’d already done enough damage with my cursing, as I’d just discovered only five minutes ago. As far as I was concerned, I deserved to have missed that bus. It was the very least that I deserved as punishment for what I’d done, or might have done; whether I’d directly caused the event to happen or not is impossible to say. It probably wasn’t my fault, but the fact is that I said it, and then it came true the very next day.
Allow me to backtrack a bit; it would help this blog post make a bit more sense than it’s probably making to you at this moment in time.
I would have made the bus fine if I hadn’t stopped in my tracks and went back into the house. Obviously I didn’t do both of those things at the same time. I stopped in my tracks first, and then stopped stopping in my tracks so as to enable me to start going back into my house. I just thought I’d better make that clear, in case you were wondering how I’d possibly managed to do both at the same time. I’m not a miracle worker. At least I don’t think I am. At least, I didn’t used to think I was. Now I’m not so sure. (I’ll go back to the backtracking and explain what the hell I’m blabbering on about.)
This morning, radio 4 was on in the kitchen as I prepared myself to leave the house for work. At 7’30, I made to leave the house, but as I closed the kitchen door behind me I caught part of the news headline emanating from the radio. I stopped, in fact, I stopped in my tracks – you should know that by now. You should also be aware of the fact that once I’d stopped in my tracks, I then stopped stopping in my tracks so as to free myself up to start going back into my house. We’ve already established all this; I see little need to elaborate on it any further. Shall we move on then? You can always email me with questions if I’m going a bit too quick for you.
“No, I must have heard the headline wrong” I thought, “it’s too coincidental”. But I hadn’t. “Steve Jobs – The CEO and co-founder of Apple – has died”.
Steve Jobs is a man I have respect for, and it’s a shame he’s died, but ordinarily it probably wouldn’t have caused me to turn back into my house and risk missing the bus for work. But things were different now. This wasn’t ordinary; My actions two days previous made me react to the story in a very different way to how I might have ordinarily acted.
Two days ago, at about 11’30 in the evening, I was sitting at my Apple Mac computer. It was talking to me, and I was talking to it – well actually, to be more accurate, I was shouting at it.
The Mac’s part of the dialogue went something along the lines of, “busy, busy, busy, busy, Safari busy, busy, busy, busy”. My retort to this unhelpful monotony was to shout similar things to what you might expect me to be shouting at a bus driver who had just driven off when I was just about to step on the bus.
Being blind, I obviously can’t see the computer screen, so I use a screen reader which essentially tells me what’s going on–or in this particular case, what isn’t going on. Apple have revolutionised the information communication technology industry by integrating highly advanced screen reading and magnification software into their products. The iPhone, the iPod, the iPad, Apple Tv and the Apple Mac computer have all got speech and magnification built in to them at no extra charge. This is one reason why I have a lot of respect for Steve Jobs and Apple.
My respect for Apple however was being tested on this particular evening because I was having great trouble using Apple’s in-built Internet browser, Safari. People I know who have Macs testify that their computer never crashes, that it is ten times faster than windows computers, and so on. In my opinion, these people are bending the truth a bit. They like to be all elitist about the fact that they are using a computer which is more expensive than your standard computer, and they make exaggerated statements about the Mac’s superiority so as to make them seem superior as people. Yes, Apple Mac computers are much much less prone to crashes than your average windows computers. Yes, I have found my Apple Mac computer to be more reliable and much faster than most windows machines I’ve used. But they do crash. Not in the same clumsy way that a windows computer crashes, with a sudden halting of a process, followed by a series of incongruous error messages, beeping sounds, an over active fan that sounds like the computer is about to take off, and then “the dreaded blue screen of death”! Mac crashes are a bit more elegant than that. I’ve never had the blue screen of death, unfathomable error messages telling me that “this programme has performed an illegal operation and needs to close”. What the hell does that mean? I was using a perfectly legal version of Microsoft Word to type a blog post. What kind of illegal operation could that possibly have caused? (and keep your derogatory jokes to yourselves, they’re not funny.)
Or what about the classic: “This programme has stopped responding. If you end the programme now you will loose any unsaved information”, to which the only option is, “end
now”. This presents the computer user with a very perplexing dilemma: either sit and wait to see whether the computer might, just might, start responding again and thus reclaim the unsaved information that might otherwise be lost, or click “end now” and lose the information instantly. There is no indication of how long your wait might be or whether it will ever yield a response at all. How long would you wait? How important is the blog post? Thanks to windows crashing, you will never hear my joke about the ostrich and the cucumber. I waited three days to salvage that post, but the computer never righted itself and so now its lost forever.
Whether you choose to wait or not might depend on when you last did a save on your document, but my attempts to remember this information are inhibited by the fact that I’m unable to concentrate on anything other than the irritation of the loud, wearing fan noise of the laptop, plus the fact that the computer is getting hotter and hotter and starting to burn my lap and melt my groin. (note to my ex-girlfriends: this was actually the reason for your nocturnal disappointments. The laptop has melted away half of my manhood. O, if only I’d chosen an Apple Mac sooner, we might still be together, and I’d have better things to do with my time than spend it writing lengthy blog posts to a handful of readers.)
On this particular night, sitting with my Mac, I was very tired and
just needed to check and reply to an Email before I could go to bed. But Safari was stopping me from doing this, and had been stopping me for the last twenty minutes. I have mentioned in a
previous blog post
that when I get irritated at an errant computer I tend to shout and curse it. I think this is partly due to the fact that the computer talks to me and so it seems fairly logical and normal to talk back to it. I am also prone to cursing and damning various people who I believe are responsible for the problem. It is not uncommon for me to wish unpleasant things to happen to Microsoft’s Bill Gates.
I was so annoyed with the situation with my Mac that I began to curse Bill Gates, until I realised that on this occasion it wasn’t actually anything to do with him; this wasn’t his remit. I then changed my attack to focus on Steve Jobs. The Mac kept goading me with “busy, busy, busy” with even more intensity. This exacerbated my anger even more, and in the heat of the moment – albeit a far reduced heat than the moment would have had if I was using a bollocks-burning PC – I blurted out the following statement: “O for fuck’s sake! Steve Jobs! Drop
Again, just like the incident with my outburst at the bus driver, I wasn’t proud of what I’d done. When I said it I realised my reaction was extreme. But I was annoyed. and it was only a stupid, rash statement made in anger. And it wasn’t like I meant it. And anyway, its not like I’m going to shout “Steve Jobs! Drop Down Dead!!!” and then a few hours later he’s going to die is it?
This blog post was written on the bus a few minutes after I heard the news. It has taken me three weeks to upload it because I lost my memory stick which housed the blog post. Perhaps it is better and more respectful to have waited a bit before posting anyway. I’m sure that I didn’t have any part to play in the death of Steve Jobs, although people do believe in the power of intention, thought and prayer. To those people who believe this, I can only offer the fact that there was no intention at all in my statement
as a means to vindicate myself.
I was telling this story to some friends a couple of days after the event. In that conversation I said that I would, as an experiment, curse another person so as to see whether my cursing holds any actual power. I said, in a jocular manner, “colonel Gaddafi! Drop Down Dead!” Two weeks later, he’s dead. OK, so there was a bit of a time lag with that one, but I wasn’t angry when I said it and so perhaps the power of the curse was a bit diminished, but the curse met its target eventually.
There are some people out there who may believe that I am some kind of dangerous, powerful god, able to bring death to anyone I curse (even if I make the curse with a smile on my face with know intention behind the words whatsoever).
There will be others out there who believe that all this is just a slight coincidence and that Steve Jobs’ and Colonel Gaddafi’s deaths were more to do with Pancreatic Cancer and being hunted down and killed by Libyan soldiers than a unintended curse made by one insignificant man in the North East of England. In case you don’t follow the news and the only external contact you have is this blog, it was Colonel Gaddafi who was hunted down and killed by Libyan soldiers, not Steve Jobs.
I suppose the moral of this story is: don’t wish people dead in case it comes true, unless of course its a dictator you’re wishing dead, but that’s down to your own conscience and set of morals. Look! there is no set moral to the story. You need to stop looking for fundamental answers hidden away in some poorly written blog and just start living like (what you consider to be) a good person; treat others how you’d like to be treated; always remember to save your work periodically; and if you’re a man, don’t let your computer melt your genitals down to a humiliating blob! Now, go forth in peace!