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Murder on Macintosh Row: Happy Mac, 1984-2002

- 2007.08.23

Bong! . . . :-) . . . Welcome to Macintosh!

Around these parts, folks don't want to talk about it. The memories of that tragic day stick in the minds of everyone.

Those who are willing to talk about it say they never saw it coming. As kind, warm, inviting and smiley as he was, they wonder how he could be murdered in cold blood after 18 years . . . cut down in the prime of his life.

He was special, and how he gave people a feeling of peace and comfort seems to be the most fitting description of the bludgeoned victim.

Happy MacWho am I talking about? He's otherwise known as the Happy Mac that graced Macintosh screens from 1984 until 2002, when "Jaguar" (Mac OS X 10.2) was released.

For 18 years, the Happy Mac - with it's infectious smile and simple, yet classy look - invited Mac users to a new day of work or play during startup. He was easy to spot because of his smile, unlike his twin brother, the Sad Mac, who always frowned and was accompanied by a row of seemingly random letters and numbers, depending on mood, below that frown.

Sad MacFor a short time, many thought Sad Mac was the culprit, but DNA tests performed during the autopsy exonerated him.

The Happy Mac's death came on August 24, 2002 when Mac OS X 10.2 (a.k.a. Jaguar) was released. Many people I spoke to even remember the breaking news report on the local TV news. One woman taped the news report:

"Police are on the scene of a gruesome murder that took place on the Apple Campus in Cupertino. The icon, which was identified as the Happy Mac, was found dead in File 13 with a slash mark across it. Investigators from the FBI have been brought in to investigate the murder. A motive has not yet been determined. Investigators are currently speaking to the Apple Campus security guard who was on duty when the murder occurred. The icon was found by the security guard this morning at around 9 a.m. The Happy Mac was 18 years old."

"This is not the first time a murder has been committed on the Apple Campus. Over the years there have been a string of deaths reported here. In the span of almost three decades, the list of Clarus the Dogcowdeaths include the Apple III, the Apple II family, the prominent Lisa family, the Newton family, Clarus the Dogcow, HyperCard, and even a whole online town, known as eWorld, was slaughtered. These are still unsolved crimes. We'll keep you up-to-date with any late-breaking developments."

Police found the Happy Mac lifeless on the Apple campus in Cupertino when they reached the scene. An autopsy confirmed what many had suspected - The Happy Mac was murdered by way of outright slashing from the Mac ROM. The coroner believes the death happened instantly. Police and investigators questioned the Apple icon, who replaced the Happy Mac immediately after his death. He said he knew nothing of the incident, adding that he was brought in at the last minute.

After a thorough investigation, it was determined who in fact slaughtered the Happy Mac. Apple Computer Inc. (now known as Apple Inc.) was ultimately deemed the main suspect, with OS X linked as a coconspirator. Although it was never confirmed, many believe Steve Jobs, the cofounder and current CEO of Apple Inc., masterminded the murder. Many suspect him because it's not his first murder.

Townfolk believe he was the one who orchestrated the 1998 murder of the beloved Newton family. It's also well known that Steve personally buried the Classic Mac OS on May 6, 2002. Police and investigators believe there's a link between the murder of the Happy Mac and the murder of Clarus the Dogcow, who was killed in the same fashion. Many believe Jobs staged her murder as well. Andy Hertzfeld and Susan Kare, widely known as the parents of the Happy Mac, were unavailable for comment.

I recently talked with Bondo Clickster, who, as many know, I interviewed late last year. He is the head of the NAHPMA (National Apple Hockey Puck Mouse Association). When I asked him what he thought of the murder of the Happy Mac, he said, "Ya know, I was rolling around in a daze when I saw it on the news. Him and I were tight, and I mean tight. During the day, we hooked up on many different Macintoshes and worked hard as a team. After work, we used to go out on the town cruisin' for mice and icons down at the local ResEdit. He always had that charm, ya know, that smile. He always got the respect. He was da icon! I and all my hockey puck friends miss him dearly."

When I asked if he thought Steve Jobs had murdered the Happy Mac, he said, "Heck yeah! I wouldn't put it past him. He's evil, brother, pure evil. He never gave the Happy Mac any respect; he was always dissin' him ya know? Yeah, I believe he took him out."

Apple Inc. and Mac OS X were never charged with the murder, as no concrete evidence was ever uncovered. This injustice has angered many who loved the Happy Mac. The new kid in town, the gray Apple logo, is shunned to this day due to the fact that he replaced the Happy Mac.

Many remember the Happy Mac fondly. One man said, "On any given day, you could boot up a Macintosh, and there he was, letting you know everything was gonna be alright. He had that kind of personality. He was a huge part of the Macintosh experience. He's sorely missed by us all."

Will the perpetrators ever be brought to justice for the gruesome murder of the Happy Mac? Many around here have given up hope, as they believe a secret deal between the government and Apple Inc., along with OS X, was made, granting the two immunity if they agreed to turn state's evidence against Microsoft and his two youngest sons, Windows XP and Vista.

One thing's for sure - the Happy Mac will always be remembered for the joy he brought to the hearts of many Macintosh users around the world. In fact, I try to keep the memory of the Happy Mac alive in the intro to each of my articles, as it mimics the startup routine on old-world Macintoshes. First the startup sound, then the Happy Mac smiling, then Welcome to Macintosh.

Happy Mac, may you rest in peace.

What are your memories of the Happy Mac? Feel free to share them with me at thomas (at) lowendmac (dot) com. LEM

A Personal Note

I'd like to take a moment to dedicate this article to my good friend, Alex. She's been battling cancer for the better part of this year. You are a very strong and very brave woman. You've made such a major impact on my life that words simply cannot express it. I pray for you every second. Keep fighting, stay strong, and trust in God. Thank you for being a blessing in my life!

First and foremost, I thank God for giving me this wonderful opportunity to do what I love best, to write. Without Him, I would truly be lost.

I'd like to personally thank Dan Knight for bringing me aboard Low End Mac a year ago today. Thanks for hanging in there with me, for being a mentor and a friend, as well as a great boss.

I'd like to thank those I interviewed for taking the time to allow me to interview you. I've enjoyed every interview thoroughly and gained new insights because of them.

I'd like to thank my family and friends for giving me the encouragement to continue to write. Your support has meant and will continue to mean a lot to me.

Last, but not least, I want to thank you, the readers. Without your support, Low End Mac simply would not exist today. I thank you wholeheartedly for reading my articles, whether you emailed me with your thoughts or not, whether you agreed with my opinions or not. I write for you, as all the writers here at Low End Mac do.

Thanks for making my first year here at Low End Mac a great one! God willing, I pray I can write for Low End Mac for a long time to come. I will do my best to write articles that you all will hopefully enjoy, because I feel if you take the time to read an article of mine, you deserve something worth of reading and worthy of your time. Thank you again for reading and for your support. Tommy

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