Sex and the Patent Leather Sandals

Okay, so I'm a turncoat, a redcoat, an unpaid Hessian. I have slept with the enemy, bought the bunko, swallowed the hype. I am the orange in the apple barrel.

My sin? I own an iPad.

In my own defense I didn't buy it. It came to me on my unbirthday as an intruder in my Perfectly Cemented PC world. We users of the humorless, business-like language of Gates Inc. don't waste time with things frivolous and fun. We follow the true Gospel of Saint Serious.

And along comes the iBook of Job in the guise of Steve the Satanic. It's black. Its case is seriously black. It actually functions, works, performs. Jobs the Seducer has made me look seriously solemn with this Darth-Vader-in-drag gizmo.

And it's oh so sexy.

When I was thirteen I wanted a blow-up bra so I could look like the big girls, the ones the guys lathered over. Now I'm lathering over a bit of sex in a box. My HIT-men friends (read High on Information Technology) are appalled. They call me Benedictine Arnold.

My (new) Apple afficionados respond, in the words of Saul Bellow, “Oh, no, that is not shit but the musk of the civet; it smells bad because it's so concentrated. Diluted, it's the base of beautiful perfumes.”

There's no question that Steve Jobs is the King of Deliciousness. He is also the Prince of Hope. As we wallow through sex, lies, subprime mortgages, pedophilic priests and philandering politicians, he offers us color, animation, eye candy, and a world of fun. Steve gets it. He understands that we need a way out of endless headaches and nasty news. I am reminded of David Wagoner's description of a stream: “taking the easy way out, which of course is what water does, as a matter of course always taking whatever turn the earth has told it to”.

Jobs lets us flow, lets our imagination flourish, seduces us with fun. The anti-Jobs among us prefer to look at life like the old army maxim: “suck it up, rub some dirt on it and you'll be fine”. The gospel according to Pope Seriousity looks at the squishy squirmy Apple ads and the touchy feely iPad shenanigans and says, as a Brigadier General recently admonished his troops: “It's bad for soldiers, it's bad for families, bad for your units, bad for this division and our Army and our country and it's got to stop now”. (Of course the General was speaking of soldiers returning from war and committing suicide, but PC addicts speak with equal solemnity.) Another Steve, this one Hawking, raises the dark cloud of despair over us as he warns of the dangers lurking in our search for intelligent life elsewhere in the universe: “We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn't want to meet.”

Listening to Saul Bellow again, as he describes dragging his four-year-old feet while his parents rushed him into adultness and (dare I say) seriousity, we learn that his mother drooled over a pair of patent- leather sandals for him. She finally bought them, when he was six or seven, and he rubbed them with butter to keep them perfect forever.

I'm not going to rub my iPad with butter, although it would certainly butter up the AppleHearts among us. But I do smile a bit when I use it, and brag a bit when I email from it (“sent from my iPad”). And I understand how Adam, age newly-4, feels when he calls me from the Virgin Islands, asks me to bring him some candy that very afternoon (I'm in California, you understand), and a bag of M&M's magically appears at his hotel room door an hour later. Steve Jobs and (modestly) I are the angels of hope, the epitome of magic in a mayhem world. Diluted? Maybe. But a little bit of hope, like a little bit of luck, could make you run just a little bit amuck, and that ain't so bad.

c. Corinne Whitaker 2010