By the time you read this, I hope all the copy has been sent for the Rocket’s upcoming insert about Engineer Week. Wednesday is the deadline. Deadlines are strong suggestions. That means for the past month, I’ve been knee-deep in engineers.
Of course, it’s hard to go anywhere in Huntsville and not be surrounded by them.
What surprised me, or at least it was something that I hadn’t thought about, was how this city had been shaped because of the high density of people we have who are engineers.
This area has undoubtedly benefited from their collective IQs, but not because of their day job.
Over the past month, I’ve encountered many men and women who volunteer their time to help others. And it seems like the only reason they do it is because they have the know-how and the ability.
So, it’s only logical that they offer their assistance.
I also learned that like lawyers, there’s a whole genre of engineer jokes.
Growing up in Huntsville, I’d heard a few of them, but while researching an opening for one of the stories, I came across a ton that I’d never heard and a handful that I didn’t even understand.
This week, I thought I’d share a few that I stumbled across, which are fit to print.
Here’s one from workjoke.com:
An optimist sees their glass as half full.
A pessimist sees their glass as half empty.
An engineer sees their glass is twice as big as it needs to be.
Sometimes it’d be nice to be that practical.
Engineering.com offered the Laws of Engineering:
1. Any circuit design must contain at least one part which is obsolete, two unobtainable parts, and three parts which are still under development.
2. Nothing ever gets built on schedule or within budget. A failure will not appear until a unit has passed the final inspection. If you can’t fix it – document it.
3. The primary function of the design engineer is to make things difficult for the fabricator and impossible for the servicemen.
It seems to me that these three principles are universal. Like every time I sit down to report a story, at least one source is nowhere to be found, two others won’t call back, and another is just not ready to talk.
No. 2 pretty much applies to every paper I’ve ever printed.
And in No. 3 just change the names to publisher, editor and reporter. One thing I learned after being a publisher, was making life difficult for others is unintentional, but also unavoidable.
And this is probably one of my favorite jokes. I’ve heard a couple of different versions of it. Usually, it involves a button or a switch, but this one uses an unnamed part:
There was an engineer who had an exceptional gift for fixing all things mechanical. He retired after serving his company loyally for over 30 years.
Years later, the company contacted him regarding a seemingly impossible problem they were having with one of their multimillion dollar machines. They had tried everything to get the machine to work but to no avail.
They were desperate. So they called on the retired engineer who had solved so many of their problems in the past. The engineer reluctantly took the challenge. He spent a day studying the huge machine. Finally, he marked a small “x” in chalk on a particular component of the device and said, “This is where your problem is.”
The part was replaced, and the machine worked perfectly again. The company received a bill for $50,000 from the engineer for his service. They demanded an itemized accounting of his charges.
The engineer responded briefly: One chalk mark $1; Knowing where to put it $49,999.
It was paid in full.