We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here.
Having led a lucky life so far, I’m loathe to say that great people are created by much aside from their circumstances. But once you have that luck, once you’re in the right place at the right time, that’s when you get to decide whether to take on the responsibility of the moment and, if you do, what to do with it.
Steve Jobs took on that responsibility of the moment with a vision and dedication that I don’t even understand. With the power that chance had bestowed upon him, he created. He created beautiful things. He created a powerful business. He created new economies.
I am in the not-at-all-unique position of having a job that would be impossible without Steve Jobs. Whether it’s that copy of iMovie HD that came with my first Mac, or the no-hassle music distribution and sales platform that first showed me people would buy my music.
And while we started out talking about the luck that made Steve’s impact possible, I’m fighting not to curse those rolling dice for taking him from us so soon. I am angry, I am crushed, and I am thankful.
Steve Jobs made my life better. He made wonderful things.
I have this pencil pouch, I’ve kept every pen I’ve ever used in college inside it. Even the broken ends of the mechanical pencils that always seem to break.
I thought I had lost it a minute ago, as I was packing my things. It was hidden under my Chemistry notes. I’ve left my room exactly as it was 5 months ago. All the piles from old classes. Collecting dust. I was terrified that I had lost it somewhere. But I found it, and it’s okay now.
We’re going to have an adventure tomorrow, the two of us. We’re gonna take my lucky pencil and sign some syllabuses. Some lab safety forms. It’ll be okay. It’ll be okay. We got this.
Let’s go have some fun, old friend. We’ll only be able to do this once. Let’s make it count.