The envious like to snipe at Apple.
It's not just the quest for perfection that gets to them. It's the annoying habit of attaining it (or at least something close to it) that rankles.
So today, when details of Apple's genius training manual were revealed, the scoffing could be heard from Jackson Hole to Seoul.
Who do these people think they are to stop their employees from using the word "frozen?"
What sort of controlling freaks demand that their employees become something akin to those peculiar Scientology people on the street who tell you they'll um, measure your blood pressure to determine your deepest needs? (It's something like that, isn't it?)
The Apple manual is full of definitions that describe the optimum human interaction. Words like "takes ownership," "persuasively" and "gracefully."
It feels the need to explain that sympathy is "the ability to feel sorry for someone."
The good book even dares to use the word "feel," a daring plunge into deeper psychology, one that many encounter during their weekly sessions with Herbert in the bow tie.
And yet isn't this book less an exercise in control and more an example of how low human relationships have sunk in this material world?
Many don't bother talking to their lovers "persuasively." Instead, they say: "This is what I want." If they don't get it, they move onto another lover and soon ask the same question.
Indeed, I am told that there are first dates whose dialogue includes the phrase: "Here is my wish list." What is this? "House Hunters International"?
Look at that phrase "takes ownership." In many modern relationships, isn't that what neither party ever does? Don't both sides keep taking and taking, while resisting responsibility, until they don't think they can take any more?
As in retail, as in love.
Yet here is Apple gently persuading that there is an entity being constructed between the Genius and the customer.
If the Genius takes ownership of this relationship, it could turn into something that will actually grow. This is not called "being a man." This is called "building a business" -- I am sorry, I meant to say "building something that is bigger than merely the two people involved."
Then there's the plea for sympathy, grace and understanding of someone else's feelings.
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Wouldn't we all love to be in significant relationships where such qualities were predominant? Wouldn't we find it hugely uplifting if our own lovenests were garlanded with them?
And yet we tend to behave in love like characters from failing retail stores -- where we're the unhelpful clerk, the graceless, all-knowing manager or the man who storms up to the counter, takes off his shoe, bangs it down very hard and screams: "Can't I get some service around here?!"
When you think deeply about this manual, it might well be one of the great love guides ever written.
Yes, better than "What Do You Do After You Say 'Hello'." And better than "The 4-Second Love Life." (What, Tim Ferriss hasn't written that one yet?)
In fact, there is only one drawback with this rather significant manual: We know that Apple's Geniuses are really not that nice, not that sympathetic, not that graceful in real life.
There's nothing worse in a loving relationship than when one party's faking it.