Sunday, 7 June 2020

The Unluckiest Businessman in the World

Here's a short chapter from Éric Plamondon’s Apple Stranslated from the French by Dimitri Nasrallah. Originally appearing in 2013, the novel completes Véhicule Press' publication of the 1984 Trilogy into English. Gabriel Rivages, Plamondon's alter ego, is the the central unifying figure across the trilogy. He performs all the online searches and collects the constellation of facts about Johnny Weissmuller, Richard Brautigan, Steve Jobs—and, this case, Ron Wayne, the little-known Apple co-founder.
Originally, it’s spelled: iota, khi, theta, upsilon, sigma. In Ancient Greek, ichtus means fish. In Roman, it corresponds to the first letters of the following five words: Iêsos Christos Theou Uios Sôtèr (ictus). It means: Jesus Christ, son of God, Savior. That’s how the fish became the symbol of Christ. For Rivages, this all reminds him of his grandmother. She always had the same bumper sticker on her car. It was a sticker in the shape of a fish with Jesus written across it. His grandmother attended mass every Sunday. She never knew that the fish related back to the Greeks. What does that change anyways? Nothing, but Rivages can’t help but uncover origin stories when he wants to understand.

Not much is known about the origins of the April Fool’s tradition. Why do we tell tall tales on that day? Why do we play tricks? Why do we tape paper fish on people’s backs It could connect back to the Zodiac. This would have come about at the time that the Sun rose from the sign of Pisces. There’s also a story that speaks of the end of Lent. Others say that to celebrate the Annunciation people gave presents on the first day of April. They commemorated the day that the Archangel Gabriel tells Mary she’s pregnant.

Apple is officially founded on April 1, 1976. April Fool’s Day. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak own ninety percent of the business. The remaining ten percent belongs to Ron Wayne. He’s the one who draws the company’s first logo with Newton sitting under an apple tree. But two weeks later, Ron changes his mind. He regrets jumping into this adventure. He doesn’t believe in it. Anyways, he doesn’t like the idea of founding a company on April Fool’s Day.

He sees it as a bad omen. He sells his shares back to the two Steves for eight hundred dollars. Thirty years later, they’re valued at three billion. Ever since April 1, 1976, Ron Wayne has the impression that a permanent paper fish has been pasted to his back.

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