In hindsight, beating someone up on the playground because he was a “know-it-all” seems like a justifiable act.
I vividly recall having pea rocks pelted at me because I argued strongly for the scientific evidence of the Loch Ness Monster during Mr. Nelson’s third grade P.E. class. And there of course was the regrettably bloody incident in fifth grade involving my defense of Wynton Marsalis as the world’s preeminent musician (over and above AC/DC, regardless of how learned Angus Young was on the organ) and a well-timed basketball from the distance of about 40 feet.
But, as much as I sympathize with myself as a boy, trying to muster a sense of defiance behind my water-accumulating eyes, trying to decipher the cosmic sin that I must’ve committed in loving to read our family’s outdated encyclopedia, I think I got what was coming to me.
Which brings me to Mac Geniuses.
Mac Geniuses—or, my apologies to the hierarchy—basically anyone who works in a Mac Store has got to be in the running for planet’s biggest deuchebag.
Let’s take a quick ajoinder: I’m typing on a Mac, I own an iPhone, my other Mac (from school) is currently sitting next to me, and I have at least three Facebook friends who work for Apple. They’re normal people. Except that is until I imagine they put on their red turtleneck, factory-frayed jeans, athletic trainers, decide not to shave the peachfuzz from chin, and drive into work. Then they turn into a Category One Jackass.
Why? Mostly because they’ve taken “think different” and made it “duh, dude, didn’t you know this already?!” The whole Mac ethos is built on the idea that simpler is better. Simple machines. Simple software. Simple answers. And from hearing anecdotes from the new Jobs book, their modern day messiah is the king of lightweight contrarianism. Oh, you thought computers were supposed to be complicated and make you wet the bed nervously thinking about how you’re going to add more memory so you can download more photos and play solitaire! Well guess what, homie, it’s fucking cake!
And this is cool if you’re Steve Jobs. He was for real. But my beef is with how this air of slightly-helpful, but inevitable, patronizing has seeped down into the ranks of retail like Mall of America Apple Store dudes, who can nail the rhetoric, but not the actual “being helpful” part.
Case in point: Mac dudes will always fall over themselves trying to provide you with profoundly simplistic answers. It’s like they teach this before getting to onto the sales floor—that if someone asks how to grill salmon, you should respond with “well, do you own a heat source?” rather than a suggestion to Google a recipe.
Let me explain.
I recently asked a Mac Genius where the store had RAM and if they would install it for me (I came to find out you need to buy this online through Apple). The hedgehog in a turtleneck looked at me like a guru and laughed: “Well do you own a screwdriver?” It was like I was the babe wandering frustratedly through the woods and he was all-amped to blow my fucking brains. “You can just do it yourself,” he pontificiated.
Whoa. Occam’s Razor, man.
Long story short, I DID do it myself. But only after getting help from a chick at Best Buy who told me, “Oh yeah, Mac won’t do that in store, and you gotta buy online through Mac.” Why was I at Best Buy? Because the genius downstairs at MOA told me to check Best Buy.
I don’t want to tell you other anecdotes—like the dude from Texas this afternoon who tried widening my provincial understanding of the digital age by informing me he had sent my e-mail to the wrong address, or the bespectacled cheery fellow who tried selling me the wrong power supply two weeks prior. It’s not important. I don’t care that they make mistakes. I like Mac! I like their cheerfulness! I like that they seem like they actually enjoy their jobs!
But I’m sort of tired of the faux-enlightenment act. Don’t try to blow my mind, man. Just sell me the goddamned memory—or tell me where I can find it. Please don’t meet my questions with responses super-far-back on the evolutionary ladder: “So you want to add memory? Well do you operate the Internet? Do you live in the 21st Century? Do you have a library card?!” I don’t want the magic act. I just want to get in and get out.
And as much as I want to protect all nerds from kickball-chucking bruisers on the playground, you and your smarty-assed-pants responses are severely mitigating my sympathies.