The Cat Came Back

With this column, I’ve been writing the AppleCarts for My Mac for about a year now. And what a year it has been! We’ve seen Apple go from emotional high to emotional low and back sky high again in just one year since Steve Jobs became our unofficial CEO.

This seemed like a good time to recap the ups and downs of Apple and what could be more fitting than a bit of nonsense verse set to the tune of The New Christy Minstral’s version of ‘The Cat Came Back’.

It would be hard to find a better introduction to the early years of Apple and the Mac than Steven Levy’s book “Insanely Great”.Wonder about Steve’s vision? What’s all this about pirates? Read the book. It helps make sense of where we are today.

I would also like to thank Glen Sanford for all the hard work at his site,, in putting his Apple timeline online for those of us who came to computing late and can’t keep it all straight. I’ve been having trouble getting into the site lately. Do you suppose I wore it out?

A note to those who like to sing along with their Macs, the chorus follows the tune (as best I recall it) fairly well, but you could twist a tonsil trying to make music out of the rest.


The Cat Mac Came BackIn 1976 when Apple’d just begun

Steve and Steve broke ground with their Apple #1
In 1977 what was left for them to do
But Wow the World again
With their Apple #2

Then… In 1981, The Woz fell from the sky
With a company to run, for Jobs t’was do or die
He knuckled down to business, Gee Whiz! He worked ’em late
For Steve had found a vision
That he called ‘Insanely Great’

And the Mac was born the very next day
(Well 1984 wasn’t all that far away)
The Man had a plan and it felt like fate
If you can’t be a Pirate
Be Insanely Great

Now, the Mac came of age with a smile on its face
The very first day changed the human race
Yes the Mac was born and the World couldn’t wait
It took us all by storm
It was Insanely Great

But in 1985 with the Mac in disarray
Scully at the helm and Our Steve had gone away
Would the Mac survive or was it all passé
They had to let the workers go
Because they couldn’t pay

But the Mac came back the very next day
Yes the Mac came back, it just wouldn’t stay away
Don’t call the Undertaker, Shout ‘Hooray!’
PostScript and PageMaker
Saved the day

Now 1989 was a nervous sorta time
Far too many PC clones coming down the line
And that 1990 Windows wasn’t just a pretty face
It came straight from the Macintosh
Thanks to Mr. Gates

But the Mac came back the very next day
Yes the Mac came back, it just wouldn’t stay away
The Mac’s more fun cuz they found a better way
To help us get our work done
And think of it as play

1991: Saw the PowerBooks come
1993: Saw Scully out the door
1994: The PowerPCs prevail and Performas are for sale
In every store

Then in 1995, Poor Apple took a dive
And 1996 could barely keep the faith alive
The Doomsayers said our beloved Mac was Dead
And about a Billion Dollars in the Red

But the Mac came back the very next day
Yes the Mac came back, it just wouldn’t stay away
If we lost the Mac, our hearts would surely break
It wasn’t just a box
It was Insanely Great

Still, the DarkSide had a ball, as they damned us one and all
Like hyenas on a hunt, just waiting for the fall
Besieged! Beset! Kaput! Beleaguered was our name
Doomed! Deceased! Defunct!
‘Down with Apple’ was the game

Lame duck! Washed up! Hanging by a thread!
Outta luck! Dumb cluck! Dontcha know you’re dead?
December ’96, were we castaway?
Without a Mac to cling to
Without a prayer to pray

But the Cat came back the very NeXT day
Yes the Cat came back, guess he couldn’t stay away
Some rang the death knell and some sang his praise
But all he ever said was
“Give me ninety days!”

And what a rocky ride! It cannot be denied
Many times in ’97, I thought I’d run and hide
Oh me of little faith,I was shaken deep inside
As the Media kept on saying my beloved Mac had died
But both fists raised, his face ablaze
Steve spit’em in the eye and cried
“Give me ninety days!”

G3s, PowerBooks, Chiat Day
A bushel full of iMacs at Comp USA
Three Quarters running, the profits kept a-coming
Apple riding high, Wall Street kept a-humming
Steve just grinned and kept on a-strumming
“Hey! Hey! Hey! What did I say!”
“Gimme ninety days and I’ll blow you away!”

Yes, the Mac came back the very next day
Stocks were on a roll! Our Steve had led the way
Now none can say that my Mac is second rate
How is my Mac?

It’s still Insanely Great!

Yes the Cat came back! Put Apple in the Black
Now the Whole Wide World is on a Mac Attack
So, how does it feel in 1998?
How does it feel?

It feels Insaaaaanely Great!!!

Levy, Steven. Insanely Great
New York: Viking Penguin, 1994

Glen Sanford at

Susan Howerter

Websites mentioned:

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