In humor, timing is everything. And death just ain't that funny. That's why Dan Lyons is quitting the Secret Diary of Steve Jobs blog. True, he's planning to turn his Fake Steve Jobs schtick into a second book. And his new job as Newsweek's gadget columnist may require more decorous relations with Apple — note that Newsweek, usually the object of favored treatment by Apple PR, didn't get an early iPhone 3G to review. But the real reason why Lyons is dropping Fake Steve? Because the state of the real Apple CEO's health had Lyons scared.
Jobs's scary-skinny appearance at an Apple event earlier this summer had everyone talking, including Lyons. While there turned out to be a reasonable explanation for Jobs's frail frame — aftereffects of surgery for pancreatic cancer — and people with Jobs's specific ailment have a high survival rate, Lyons concluded that posing as a guy recovering from cancer just couldn't be humorous for much longer.
Hence his attempts to write as Fake Jerry Yang and a Google insider. None of the alternate personae really took. Just as well. Some thought that after the New York Times unmasked him last year, Lyons's blog wouldn't be as good. Instead, he just got better. As Lyons proved on his book tour for Options, his first Fake Steve novella, he is riotously funny as himself. Goodbye, Fake Steve Jobs; hello, Real Dan Lyons. Where have you been hiding?