I was barely a year out of college working as the sole IT guy for one of the nation's pre-eminent investment advisers. I was the sole IT guy because no one else wanted to do it. I was the sole IT guy because, despite a degree from a prestigious Ivy League school, it was the only job I could get (it being at the height of the 1981-82 recession. I was the sole IT guy because – they absolutely trusted my ability to "make magic" when it came to these complicated behemoths of electronic wizardry. They'd constantly ask, "How did you know that?" and I would just innocently shrug my shoulders and coyly answer, "I dunno. I guess it was pretty obvious." Then I regaled them with the story about building my first computer with a box of spare parts from Radio Shack (OK, it was a kit) when I was a sophomore in High School.

I never let them really know how I knew what I knew. But, now some 30+ years distant, I think it's safe to reveal the answer to you. After all, most folks took today off, but you didn't. And for that, you deserve a bonus.

Here it is: I knew all that computer stuff for one simple reason and one simple reason only. It wasn't because I was some sort of whiz-kid genius. It was because I majored in the subject. It wasn't because I had elves come and cobble together everything in the wee hours of the morning after I had fallen asleep at my desk. No. It was because I read the manual.

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