You must have heard about this. Some dude who worked for us in China had a bunch of prototype next-generation iPhones (which by the way do not actually exist) and he lost one of them and the security dudes at Foxconn, our manufacturing partner, scared the shit out of him and mistreated him and finally he jumped off a building and killed himself. Twenty-five years old. I’m totally freaked about this. Because let’s be honest. Foxconn went after the guy because they know we’ll go after them. They told us about the missing prototype (which as I said before does not actually exist and never did exist) and we went apeshit on them. I mean really, really apeshit. Like the kind of apeshit that means this mistake is going to cost your fucked-up Third World manufacturing company billions and billions of dollars and ruin you and bankrupt you and drive you out of business.
Well, this is the world we are living in. These are the people we are dealing with. This is how we have to deal with them. We can’t make these products in the United States. Nobody could afford to buy them if we did. And, frankly, the quality would be about half what we get out of China. But these guys play rough. They really do. They are not nice people. And, though we talk a good game about how we insist on workers being treated with dignity, blah blah blah, well, I mean, come on. Have you ever been to China? We have. We’ve been to China. We know what goes on there. We know how they open your mail, and listen to your phone calls, and let their factories pollute like crazy and exploit workers, all in the name of progress. And we turn a blind eye to it. We let them know when we’re coming to visit, and they give us a tour and put on a little show of how great things are, and how wonderful the dorm life is, and afterward we pretend to keep an eye on them — but it’s all theater. It is. We know it. What’s more, you know it. Everyone knows it.
We all know that there’s no fucking way in the world we should have microwave ovens and refrigerators and TV sets and everything else at the prices we’re paying for them. There’s no way we get all this stuff and everything is done fair and square and everyone gets treated right. No way. And don’t be confused — what we’re talking about here is our way of life. Our standard of living. You want to “fix things in China,” well, it’s gonna cost you. Because everything you own, it’s all done on the backs of millions of poor people whose lives are so awful you can’t even begin to imagine them, people who will do anything to get a life that is a tiny bit better than the shitty one they were born into, people who get exploited and treated like shit and, in the worst of all cases, pay with their lives.
You know that, and I know that. Okay? Let’s just be honest here. Just for a fucking minute, let’s all be honest.
This time it’s getting to me. It really is. For a long time I couldn’t stop crying. Since then I’ve just been sitting in my office with the blinds shut. I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s why I wasn’t on the earnings call today. I’m just numb. I’m asking myself, Is this really worth it? Is this what I want to do with my life? Can I live with myself?
Tim and Phil came in and they were like, Steve, look, it’s not your fault, you didn’t do this, there’s no way we could have known, and sure you were pretty rough on the Foxconn guys but you didn’t know they would turn around and throw the guy off a fucking roof. I’m like, What? What did you say? And they were like, Oh, I mean, you know, not literally, but you know, um, virtually that’s what they did, in effect that’s what they did. And they’re both giving each other these weird looks.
The worst of all was Katie. She came in and she’s like, You’re fucking kidding me, right? Are you kidding me? What’d they do, give you Phil Donahue’s liver? Or what, when they put in a liver they take out your balls? I didn’t realize that. Steve, the guy was weak. That’s all. He was weak. And what’s more, he was stealing from us. Do you hear me? Stealing. You think he lost a prototype? Please. He didn’t lose shit. And whether he jumped or got pushed, does it matter? For what it’s worth, my take is it wasn’t Foxconn that threw him off the roof, it was whoever he was working for. Whoever was paying him. They were worried he’d rat them out. Jesus, Steve. You know I love you, but what the fuck is wrong with you these days? Man up, okay? Man the fuck up. Or I’m seriously going to start worrying about you.
You know what? She’s right. I’ve changed. I really have. This kind of stuff never used to bother me. Now it’s seven o’clock and I’m still just sitting here. I can’t even work up the energy to get high. At some point I’m going to have to go home. But right now I just need to sit here for a while more and do some thinking.