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Understanding Engineers 101

Posted Thursday, March 26, 2009, at 5:03 PM

Here's a good example of an engineer, standing with his mom and his sister in the Mariott Hotel lobby in Memphis, where he was giving a presentation on "Membrane Technology" (water filtration) at a symposium there. (See my "Adventure in Memphis" blog) Yes, we narrowly escaped death the day before!
This morning, I received an email from my dear sister, and I'm going to share it - in honor of the engineering son I mentioned in one of my recent blogs.

He is the typical engineer with three degrees - bachelor's in civil engineering, masters in environmental engineering, and doctorate in environmental engineering. With all the education that engineers have to have, is it any wonder that a woman has to hit them over the head to get them into a relationship?? My daughter-in-law told me that they had been out on three dates before my son realized that they were dating. He thought they were just friends, hanging out! She had to do some major engineering just to get him alone!

He will admit himself that engineers are a breed unto themselves. Why else would Dilbert be his favorite cartoon character?

For all those of us who find ourselves having to deal with members of this puzzling profession, here's your guide:

Understanding Engineers - One

Two engineering students were walking 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."

Understanding Engineers - Two

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.

Understanding Engineers - Three

A priest, a doctor, and an engineer were waiting one morning for a particularly slow group of golfers.
The engineer fumed, "What's with those guys? We must have been waiting for fifteen minutes!"
The doctor chimed in, "I don't know, but I've never seen such inept golf!"
The priest said, "Here comes the green-keeper. Let's have a word with him."
He said, "Hello George, what's wrong with that group ahead of us? They're rather slow, aren't they?"
The green-keeper replied, "Oh, yes. That's a group of blind firemen. They lost their sight saving our clubhouse from a fire last year, so we always let them play for free anytime."
The group fell silent for a moment. The priest said, "That's so sad. I think I will say a special prayer for them tonight."
The doctor said, "Good idea. I'm going to contact my ophthalmologist colleague and see if

there's anything he can do for them."
The engineer said, "Why can't they play at night?"

Understanding Engineers - Four

What is the difference between mechanical engineers and civil engineers?
Mechanical engineers build weapons and civil engineers build targets.
**Understanding Engineers - Five
Normal people 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.
**Understanding Engineers - Six
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."
He bent over, picked up the frog and put it in his pocket.

The frog spoke up again and said, "If you kiss me I'll turn back into a beautiful princess and stay with you for one week."
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? I've told you I'm a beautiful princess and that I'll stay with you for one week and do anything you want. 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 way cool."

Oh, yeah, this is my son, all right - since he was four years old, working with me in the garden to channel the pond water to the tomatoes, catching the grey bugs on the zuccini, catching frogs in the pond... How this math-deficient English teacher raised a real-life engineer is a MYSTERY... but that's life...It's a conundrum!

From the green hills of rural Tillman, Missouri, this is your roving reporter, Madeline, thanking God for all those wonderful engineers!

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

You just made my day, best stories (and true) I've heard in ages. You all must have a ball around the dinner table. Just make sure you have selected the correct size glasses. Drinking that is!!!!

-- Posted by changedname on Thu, Mar 26, 2009, at 5:21 PM

Thanks for making us laugh! Those were really funny. Besides that, you have quite an attractive little family group. I'm glad you shared the picture with your blogging buddies.

-- Posted by GONENOW on Thu, Mar 26, 2009, at 7:04 PM

Wonderful story! I have met a couple engineers in the past and I can see how these could apply to them. Thanks for sharing with us.

-- Posted by SKDellinger on Thu, Mar 26, 2009, at 9:11 PM

Fantastic reading MD, as usual!

-- Posted by mrsdolphin on Thu, Mar 26, 2009, at 10:02 PM

MD and ALL....an old campfire song comes to mind:

"Godiva was a lady, who through Coventry did ride,

Just to show to all the villagers, her lovely, lily white hide,

The most observant man of all was an engineer of course, he was the only one who noticed that Godiva rode a horse!!!"

(Stolen from a fireside camping binge with cavers from MOSchooloMines(Rolla), years ago), Good looking bunch Maddie, be proud, glad you had "Fun" in Memphis....molater, kk

-- Posted by kkcaver47 on Thu, Mar 26, 2009, at 11:48 PM

Hahaha! kk, you always have something original to add!

All that engineering conversation may be over my head by a mile, but I do love to listen to them banter with each other! As for engineering presentations, I've had to sit in on a few in the course of my job, and I'd rather go to the dentist for a root canal!! Engineers who can write well and speak interestingly are in short supply.

-- Posted by goat lady on Fri, Mar 27, 2009, at 7:44 AM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
My son Matthew once said, "Mom, is there anyone in Southeast Missouri who doesn't know how proud you are of Todd?" I had just done a "Neighbors" feature on him for the NSC. Matthew is crazy about his older brother, too, and thinks he is the funniest person alive.

I think all my children have taken me into uncharted waters that I never would have expected. I know their father would be very proud of them. He died the April before Todd graduated from Rolla with his first degree, and Matthew graduated from high school. Todd dedicated his masters' thesis to his dad, who worked so hard to get him to that point.

Unlike most engineers, Todd writes beautifully and can give a dynamite speech, practice he gained in the Advance schools -- but when he was choosing a profession, we steered him away from English and journalism and into science. I think it was a good decision.

I enjoyed reading your story. I have noticed though that you reference quite a bit towards your older son and your darling daughter on some of your stories. We do not hear much about the other son.

Do keep up the great writing though.

-- Posted by starry_056 on Thu, Apr 2, 2009, at 2:03 PM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
Ooops!! I can hear all the middle siblings muttering, "Yeah, yeah! We're always the forgotten ones!"

Actually, if it weren't for my middle child, I would NOT be able to stay out here on my Tillman retreat, so he deserves a lot of credit. He mows the fields, fixes things that are broken, buries things that die, keeps the wilderness at bay, and - most importantly - brings my soon-to-be-3-year-old grandson to see me!!!

Hooray for the middle child!!

Mysteriously on March 26 posting 'changedname' is really me 'dexterite' on the Cape Forum. Some NUT is using the dexterite on the Dexter Topix and is really a basket case.

-- Posted by changedname on Thu, Apr 2, 2009, at 6:53 PM

Well, that's strange! You've been Dexterite forever! How could someone else have hijacked your name??

-- Posted by goat lady on Fri, Apr 3, 2009, at 7:55 AM

It sounds like the middle child does a lot for you. Maybe you should do a story about him.

-- Posted by starry_056 on Sat, Apr 4, 2009, at 7:06 PM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
Are you my daughter-in-law??? Hahaha! Just kidding!

Actually, if you go back to my "Bush goat meets bush hog" blog posted on 12/12/07, you'll see that I sometimes do talk about my middle son. He's a surveyor for an engineering company in Cape. Maybe I SHALL write about middle children - with mine as a good example!

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Madeline DeJournett
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at advancensc@sbcglobal.net.
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