I listened, too. We all did. Intently. It was the second of just two nights of screenings for “Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview,” a documentary comprised of a rare sit-down chat with Jobs that journalist Robert Cringely recorded in 1995.
I know Jobs was smart — who doesn’t? — but his eloquence, his clarity, his confidence. The way he answered questions with whole philosophies, concisely put. His emotional honesty. That I didn’t expect. Here’s a man known for being kind of a jerk, who could put into words things not just in his own soul, but in the soul of the world.
And then he sneezed.
The only movements we’d seen from Jobs up to that point were those small things you do when you’re sitting in a chair. He tilted his head. Shifted in his seat. But still, we looked. His words mattered most, of course. But this was film, not radio. And up there was Steve Jobs — alive. Every pause, every small movement said something. Had to say something. And we wanted to hear it all.
I didn’t know what Jobs was doing at first. “Excuse me,” he told the interviewer in the middle of talking about NeXT, the company he was running at the time. Then he put his hand out more than a half a foot from his face, held it there, sneezed into the air in front of it — “Ah-choo!” — kept it there a touch longer, and went right back to talking about NeXT.
We laughed. We weren’t supposed to see that. But there it was. And I felt my brain file away an unusual piece of data about one of the world’s greatest visionaries: Steve had a weird sneeze.
Jobs the genius, lest we fans forget, was also Jobs the human being.