In 1968, I worked part-time for the local university’s computer center. One of my duties was to serve at the ‘help-desk’ a few hours each week. People from many departments were trying to harness the mainframe’s power to solve problems, and everybody was new to what they were doing. People would bring in their keypunch card decks and their computer listings, give some explanation and then we would look together at their output, or their code.
My favorite experience as a help-desk person, which repeated itself many times, worked like this: A person would sit down, spread out their listings, and try to explain what they were doing. Mid-explanation, they would realize what they had done wrong. They would then stand up, beaming, and thank me profusely for my help, even though I had never managed to get my mouth open.