Tech visionary and entrepreneur Steve Jobs died yesterday at the age of 56, and I had the opportunity to sit down with him after his passing.
Me: I don’t know if I can do this.
SJ: Do what?
Me: Interview you. For once, I’m actually sad that a public figure has died, and it’s hard to write anything funny when you’re sad.
SJ: Well, don’t interview me, then. Why not let me interview you?
Me: But that’s not how it works.
SJ: Says who? Why are you living your life according to anyone else’s rules?
Me: Well, isn’t that the actual definition of “interview”?
SJ: So redefine it. Make it about what you want to do.
Me: What I want to do? I want to take the death of a truly innovative, inspirational person, and find the funny.
SJ: Okay, so how can we do that? Let’s get back to the roots of what makes something funny. Well?
Me: Umm, something would be considered funny if it makes at least one member of a select group of people laugh?
Me: And the more members of that group that laugh, the more successful one is in making something funny.
Me: So, when the group is something as large as the entire Internet audience, it’s extremely difficult and complicated to create something that is successfully funny to a majority of the members of that group.
SJ: Is it? I think you’re putting too much thought into the output and not into the design of the joke itself. Sometimes the most successful things we can do in life will have the simplest structures.
Me: That’s true, but the mechanisms into making it appear simple can usually be extremely complex.
SJ: Sometimes, yes. But here’s a basic one. Did you hear about the new Apple product that will help people with their bowel movements, resulting in more effective digestion?
SJ: It’s called iBM.
SJ: See? BM because of “bowel movement”, but with the “i”, becomes just like IBM, aka International Bus-
Me: Yeah, anytime you have to explain a joke, it loses any luster.
SJ: Okay, okay, let’s go simpler. Knock knock.
Me: Who’s there?
Me: Apple who?
SJ: Apple your hair if you don’t let me in.
Me: *groan* Some jokes just miss the mark.
SJ: Yeah, but you’ll never get there if you don’t try everything. It’s all about perseverance. Let me think . . .
Me: I’ve got one. How many Apple employees does it take to change a light bulb?
SJ: How many?
Me: Three. One to come up with a design for a brand new type of lighting source that requires its own unique proprietary electrical connection to your home, one to create a method to buy proprietary accessories and design elements to improve the bulb’s functions, and one to come up with a name like iGlow that will convince people to spend $399 on a really cool looking light source.
SJ: *chuckles* There you go!
Me: I’ll miss you, Steve.
SJ: Thank you. It was quite a journey.
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