Many of my co-workers, as well as my peers in the world of Mac journalism, might think I’m an oddball because I am determined to meet Steve Jobs. I don’t want to have his love child — biologically, that would be impossible — and I don’t want his autograph. Heck, I don’t even want to tell him about how my iMac crashes at least once a day. I just want to shake the hand of the man who brought back the Mac.
So far, I’ve managed to meet Woz and Sculley — the latter was as interesting as an interview with Britney Spears — so I might as well add Steve to my Life List.
This all started in January at Macworld Expo in San Francisco. I was still the new kid at Macworld , so I had to watch my step. I didn’t want my coworkers to think that I’m a freak: “Did you hear that Brett jumped the partition and chased down Jobs just to shake his hand?” After Steve’s powerful keynote about Aqua and the delay of OS X, I made my way to the front of the room and waited.
I stood there while the swarm of people came closer, and then thinned out. There he was, breaking from the crowd and heading right for me. I waited at the rope as he got closer, and when he was within reach I held out my hand for him to shake and said “Steve!” He looked at me, looked at my badge, and turned around. My only keepsake of the man who saved Apple was, it turns out, a fitting one: a picture of his rear end.
At our staff meetings before the July Expo in New York, I made it pretty clear that I was going to shake Steve’s hand, though another photo of his backside would be a good substitute should I be unable to complete my primary mission’s objective. By then, all of my coworkers had learned that while I am indeed a bit of a freak, I am also harmless. (Secretly, I’m sure they hoped I would jump a velvet rope and tackle the iCEO — it would have made a great story.)
After the keynote where Steve doled out everything but iMac-inspired bathroom fixtures and dashboard accessories — and only after I grabbed my free mouse — I made my way to the front of the room. I was resolute.
As I approached the pulpit, I realized that since I was wearing a media badge, I could officially pass behind the velvet rope used to hold most attendees back. So I did. And there he was — in the crowd of people. I pushed my way through and stood no more than an inch or two from him. I tapped him on the shoulder to get his attention, but it didn’t work. I could see where this was going, so I decided now would be a good time to get the second in a series of Jobs portraits. And I did.
Then he turned around again. This time, I reached my hand out and he grabbed it, like some kind of religious figure readying himself to cure me of my ills. He shook my hand. His hands were clammy, in case you’re wondering, and he didn’t have one of those handshakes that could kill a small chicken.
“Steve,” I said as he glanced at me. “Nice to finally meet you.”
Okay. So it wasn’t the best thing to say. But it seemed fitting at the time — certainly better than “What about an Apple-branded Palm, anyway?” or “Man, what’s the deal with that Amelio guy?” He merely grunted at me, glanced at my badge, and walked on.
So, there. I did it.
Next Expo, maybe I’ll try having a conversation with him. At the very least, I’ve got to snap a new picture.