The Web thinks there are no good metaphors for:
o too-hard poetry
o compassion in solitude
o a "space" that we cooperatively occupy mentally
o neutrality in prison
o hunting and serving
o the idea behind Einstein's most famous equation
o "this degree of absolute wrongness"
o the release of Ann Coulter's new book
I'd add "generating software" to that list. I can't think of any way to describe what it is that I do for a living to relatives that doesn't involve blank stares of....
dammit, I just thought of one. Magic.
As per Stross in the introduction to Atrocity Archives, imagine a learned cabal whose entrance requirements are long and careful study, that invents multiple new languages and thoughts to express its primary motives, that causes the world to change by the correct and highly ritualized codification of thought, that warps its members' perceptions and actions, that's impenetrable to outsiders
(though they may benefit from the cabal's work), that can create or destroy person-years of economic effort just by uttering incantations. Now dress them in jeans and scruffy T-shirts with SIGGRAPH '88 logos, and call them "IT".