Why do people do this to IT people so often? It seems to be as far as I can tell the only profession that gets treated this way.

There is another side of this that I used to run into when I was doing IT — and which Will still has to deal with. When you are fixing a computer as a contractor, people will often want to sit next to you and “learn how to do it.” This is not the same thing. For one thing, having people ask a stream of questions makes the repair go much slower, and most repairs are not done on an hourly basis. For another thing, it is offensive. The implication is that all you are doing is this one thing — that knowing what to do isn’t part of a vastly larger base of knowledge. No one would ever think it appropriate to ask a plumber to teach them the art while the toilet gets fixed.

Here’s how you can learn what I know: start when you are four years old and are trying to figure out how to use a terrible TRS-80 in a hot trailer that your working-class poor but computer-obsessed dad traded some mechanic work for (instead of food, which you probably needed more).

Then do that for 35 years, increasing your knowledge and skills all the time.

Then you’ll know what I know and be able to do what I do as quickly as I do it.

Easy, right?

That’s why I’m not going to be able to tell you how I fixed that networking problem in five minutes some other people spent three days working on.