Friday, December 23, 2011

Think Different(ly)

Papa was a rollin' stone
Wherever he laid his hat was his home
And when he died
All that he left us was alone... lone... lone... lone...

It's 1973. I'm a sophomore at Wheaton Central High School. The Temptations, Papa Was a Rollin' Stone is climbing the charts and I'm trying to understand the lyrics. I know the words and all; I just can't figure out the meaning of the chorus' last line: All that he left us was alone.

The line haunts me. I think, "Why would someone owe money to some who died? Why would some who's dying make a loan to someone else? Maybe he took out a loan from a loan-shark and now the loan-shark is after his family?"

It just wouldn't occur to me that the phrase was "alone" and not "a loan".

It's 1997. Apple Computer has just launched it's new Think Different ad campaign, a campaign aimed at converting PC Users to Mac Users. The print and television ads are replete with images of people who's lives changed the world, people who scorned convention and followed the path their choosing.

The ads are inspirational and yet, each time I read or hear the phrase, "Think Different", I compulsively say (sometimes aloud), "LEE. Think different-lee. 'Think' is a verb. It requires an adverb, not an adjective."

It's 1994. In a PBS documentary, Apple Computer founder Steve Jobs says...
When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money.

That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact, and that is - everything around you that you call life, was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.

The minute that you understand that you can poke life and actually something will, you know if you push in, something will pop out the other side, that you can change it, you can mold it. That’s maybe the most important thing. It’s to shake off this erroneous notion that life is there and you’re just gonna live in it, versus embrace it, change it, improve it, make your mark upon it.

I think that’s very important and however you learn that, once you learn it, you’ll want to change life and make it better, cause it’s kind of messed up, in a lot of ways. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.

It's January -8, 2012. There's the stuff I know I can change. There's the stuff I know I can't. There's the stuff I think I can change, but can't. There's the stuff I think I can't change, but can. It's the last two that are the most challenging.

If I could only discern the difference before hand.

But then, what fun would it be if I knew.

Happy Friday,

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