It’s an odd thing, shedding tears at the death of someone you didn’t know.

We have this chair. An old oak, mission style rocking chair. We bought it years ago in terrible shape and took it to be reupholstered. At the shop, the upholsterer told me about the thumb prints he’d often see inside hundred-year-old pieces. The prints of their makers, long dead. In these inanimate objects, you could see the literal fingerprints of the people who created them from raw wood.

Of course, most things today aren’t like that. They’re made by teams of people. Hundreds of them. But there are still a few things we get to use — even those that are the result of the talent and labor of hundreds — that bear the obvious fingerprints of a singular talent. And as you use them, you get to know that talent.

So maybe, in a way, I did know him. Maybe we all did.

Steve Jobs, dead at 56. Too damned soon.