I caught a documentary on CNBC (I don’t even know what the “C” stands for) called “Welcome to Macintosh.” It was excellent. At least, it was excellent for somebody who already loved the Mac. I do love the Mac. I had such a flood of memories come back as a result that I had to write them down.
They didn’t show The Commercial. I saw The Commercial, I watched that Super Bowl. Maybe they couldn’t get the rights to it. But like nearly everybody else, that was my first introduction to Macintosh. I had played with a friend’s Apple II, so that was my first introduction to Apple.
When I worked for Paragon in St. Louis, we had proprietary Compugraphic computer phototypesetting machines. Some crazy guy from the printer downstairs had a Macintosh. He talked about it all the time. Finally, he brought it upstairs to show us. It was so small!
Shortly thereafter, I was spending most of my days at work trying to get Quark to run on this thing. It crashed a dozen times a day. I called it “Macintosh wrestling.” LWC hated the Mac, and she’d never laid eyes on one. All she knew was that I cussed it day and night.
After I left Paragon, I worked for Focus Graphics. They had seven different kinds of Macintosh computers. It was my job to keep them working. I’m not a hardware guy, anybody can tell you that. I was asked in my interview, “Do you know how to fix computers?” I did not equivocate. I said, “No.”
The documentary talked about the “Jobs-less” years at Apple. When Apple lost its way and made a lot of crappy Macs. Those were the machines at Focus, and they didn’t work very well.
But the highlight of my day, every day, was turning on the Quadra. It had advanced sound capabilities and terrific speakers and it made the most wonderful noise. The documentary talked about “The Startup Sound,” and they interviewed Jim Beekes, the guy who made that sound. He said it had to be good and strong and bold and happy and uplifting, because you heard it right after a crash and reboot. It’s an excellent sound. I have an MP3 and I can play it any time I like. It makes me happy.
A few years later, I was working at Decipher and I noticed a new device in the IT department (right next to the game designers, until they threw us out for making noise). I said, “That’s a weird looking monitor.” They said, “It’s not a monitor, it’s a computer. It’s like a laptop with a CRT on top.” That was an iMac. A Bondi blue one.
Soon thereafter, I had a strawberry iMac of my own. My first Macintosh. I still have it. I haven’t plugged it in for years. I never think about getting rid of it. I think, “I have that iMac in a box downstairs.” I don’t think I can get rid of it. When I got rid of my first Windows machine, I heaved it into the dumpster without a second thought.
You either get this stuff like I do or you don’t get it. If you don’t get it, I hope you feel this way about something else. If you do get it, you know what I’m talking about.