Off the Hook

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What makes an engineer?
I know two engineers. One is a civil engineer and the other an electrical engineer. I have seen how their minds work and even though those two fields are quite different they have a lot in common. The person who is attracted to the field of engineering has to be analytical, always looking for a cause and a solution. They are quite serious about their jobs because, often, a lot rides on the outcome of their project.
The following stories may help you understand engineers a little more and possibly see what I see in them. Remember to laugh.
“Two engineering students were biking across a university campus when
one said, ‘Where did you get such a great bike?’ The second engineer replied, ‘Well, I was walking along yesterday, minding my own business, when a beautiful woman rode up on this bike, threw it to the ground, took off all her clothes and said, take what you want.’ The first engineer nodded approvingly and said, ‘Good choice, the
clothes probably wouldn›t have fit you anyway.’”
“To the optimist, the glass is half-full. To the pessimist, the glass is half-empty. To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.”
“There are three engineers in a car going for a drive. The first is a mechanical engineer, the second an electronics engineer and the third a software engineer. Fortunately, the mechanical engineer is driving because the brakes fail as they are going downhill. The mechanical engineer eventually brings the car safely to a halt and gets out to examine the hydraulic system. The electronics engineer gets out and checks the body computer, ABS system and the power train. The software engineer stays in the car and when queried about it says that they should all just get back in the car and see if it happens again!”
Now we have what is called Engineer Speak: “A number of different approaches are being tried actually means, we don›t know where we›re going, but we›re moving.”
“An extensive report is being prepared on a fresh approach to the problem means, we just hired three guys – we›ll let them kick it around for a while.”
“Developed after years of intensive research means, it was discovered by accident.”
“Modifications are underway to correct certain minor difficulties means, we threw the whole thing out and are starting from scratch.”
“Preliminary operational tests were inconclusive means, the darn thing blew up when we threw the switch.”
“Test results were extremely gratifying means, it works and, boy, are we surprised!”
“The design will be finalized in the next reporting period means, we haven’t started this job yet, but we’ve got to say something.”
“The entire concept is unworkable means, the only guy who understood the thing just quit.”
“What is the difference between mechanical engineers and civil engineers? Mechanical engineers build weapons. Civil engineers build targets.”
“Normal people (not that engineers aren’t) believe that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Engineers believe that if it ain’t broke, it doesn’t have enough features yet.”
“An engineer was crossing a road one day, when a frog called out to him and said, ‘If you kiss me, I’ll turn into a beautiful princess and stay with you for a week.’ He bent over, picked up the frog, and put it in his pocket. The engineer took the frog out of his pocket, smiled at it and returned it to the pocket. The frog then cried out, ‘If you kiss me and turn me back into a princess, I’ll stay with you for one week and do anything you want.” Again, the engineer took the frog out, smiled at it and put it back into his pocket. Finally the frog asked, ‘What is the matter? Why won’t you kiss me?’ The engineer said, ‘Look, I’m an engineer. I don’t have time for a girlfriend, but a talking frog – now that’s cool.’”
And finally this: “Two engineers were standing at the base of a flagpole, looking at its top. A woman walked by and asked what they were doing. ‘We’re supposed to find the height of this flagpole,’ said one, ‘but we don’t have a ladder.’ The woman took a wrench from her purse, loosened a couple of bolts, and laid the pole down on the ground. Then she took a tape measure from her purse, took a measurement, and announced, ‘Twenty one feet, six inches,’ and walked away. One engineer shook his head and laughed, ‘A lot of good that does us. We ask for the height and she gives us the length!’ Both engineers have since quit their engineering jobs and are currently serving in the United States Congress.”
(Melanie Behrens – melb@marysvillejt.com)



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