The Wozard of Whu-huh?

— 11:04 AM on July 13, 2009

In the beginning, there was a partnership. A marriage of unequals between a technically inclined schemer named Steve and a technically brilliant Hobbit with a thyroid condition named Steve. The company they formed would not be called Steve Squared, Joboz Computer Technologies or even the supercool Two Steves and a Tandy Circuit Board.

The former, Steve Jobs, would eventually go on to develop a powerful technology known as the SJRDF, or Steve Jobs Reality Distortion Field. Although the device that produces this field has never been photographed or even displayed in public, we know it exists because Steve wouldn't lie to us. Ever.

The other Steve, Stephen Gary Wozniak, would go on to become the cuddliest nerd since the term "nerd" replaced "poindexter" in March 1952 at a ceremony hosted by Sophia Loren. No, the other Sophia Loren. Unlike Cupertino's Turtlenecked Terror, Woz was not bent of world domination. He preferred the role of the engineer and enjoyed bringing new ideas to the public. He flew planes. And crashed them. (Okay, just one, but still.)

After leaving Apple in 1987, he founded another company and invented the universal remote control. Although he claims no responsibility for the large-buttoned version your grandma keeps losing behind the fern. He builds Lego robots. Donates cash and time to his local school district. Plays Segway polo. In a league. He danced, using a loose definition of the word, with the stars.

The man still enjoys quite solace of a good beard.

People, especially Macheads, love the Woz. And why not? He took his fortune and, instead of just trying to turn it into an even bigger fortune, used to finance the things he truly loves. Some personal, some altruistic. And, while a bit quirky, he seems like a nice enough guy. A characteristic deficient in 98% of the über-successful among us. I'll bet he likes grilled cheese. And would share his with you if you asked.

Personally, I've just been a casual Woz fan through the years. Of course, I knew his place in the pantheon of Apple and wouldn't have minded if my IIGS has been a signature "Woz" edition. But through the years, I've been satisfied with the occasional update on or I've never read his autobiography, "iWoz." I didn't even bother watching "Dancing with the Stars." When I crave dorky white guy dancing, I'll just look in a mirror, thank you.

Nonetheless, there is something inherently endearing about a tech mogul who doesn't mind poking fun at his own eccentricities. And I believe Woz has reached a new pinnacle in this department by, what else, starring in a local television commercial for the auto body shop he frequents. Seems Steve has a fleet of Toyota Priusi (which seems akin to have a squadron of toasters, but whatever), and a Billy Joel-esque tendency to ding them. He visits Car West Auto Body—suggested tagline: "We service cars AND autos!"—so much, that when they decided to run a TV campaign, they thought Steve would be a perfect fit.

And Woz agreed:

The resulting spot is an amalgam of just about every Woz-based cliché they could fit in without getting sued by Other Steve. It's really just classic, local-business advertising with a beSegwayed rich dude thrown into the mix. 100% Gouda. As someone who creates advertising for a living, I can't say it qualifies as good advertising. But it is good fun. Which is something the boys at One Infinite Loop—not to mention Redmond (sorry, the churro didn't quite cut it, Bill)—might do well to reacquaint themselves with.



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