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Next Time Someone Claims To Be
An 'Engineer,' Give Them This Test.
Engineering is so trendy these days that everybody
wants to be one. The word "engineer" is greatly
overused. If there's somebody in your life who you
think is trying to pass as an engineer, give him this
test to discern the truth.
You walk into a room and notice that a picture is
hanging crooked. You...
A. Straighten it.
B. Ignore it.
C. Buy a CAD system and spend the next six
months designing a solar-powered, self-adjusting
picture frame while often stating aloud your belief
that the inventor of the nail was a total moron.
The correct answer is "C" but partial credit can be
given to anybody who writes "It depends" in the
margin of the test or simply blames the whole
stupid thing on "Marketing."
Engineers have different objectives when it comes
to social interaction.
"Normal" people expect to accomplish several
unrealistic things from social interaction:
* Stimulating and thought-provoking conversation
* Important social contacts
* A feeling of connectedness with other humans
In contrast to "normal" people, engineers have
rational objectives for social interactions:
* Get it over with as soon as possible.
* Avoid getting invited to something unpleasant.
* Demonstrate mental superiority and mastery of
all subjects.
Clothes are the lowest priority for an engineer,
assuming the basic thresholds for temperature
and decency have been satisfied. If no
appendages are freezing or sticking together, and
if no genitalia or mammary glands are swinging
around in plain view, then the objective of clothing
has been met. Anything else is a waste.
Dating is never easy for engineers. A normal
person will employ various indirect and duplicitous
methods to create a false impression of
attractiveness. Engineers are incapable of placing
appearance above function.
Fortunately, engineers have an ace in the hole.
They are widely recognized as superior marriage
material: intelligent, dependable, employed,
honest, and handy around the house. While it's
true that many normal people would prefer not to
date an engineer, most normal people harbor an
intense desire to mate with them, thus producing
engineer-like children who will have high-paying
jobs long before losing their virginity.
Male engineers reach their peak of sexual
attractiveness later than normal men, becoming
irresistible erotic dynamos in their mid-thirties to
late forties. Just look at these examples of sexually
irresistible men in technical professions:
* Bill Gates.
* MacGyver.
* Etcetera.
Female engineers become irresistible at the age of
consent and remain that way until about thirty
minutes after their clinical death. Longer if it's a
warm day.
Engineers are always honest in matters of
technology and human relationships. That's why
it's a good idea to keep engineers away from
customers, romantic interests, and other people
who can't handle the truth.
Engineers sometimes bend the truth to avoid work.
They say things that sound like lies but technically
are not because nobody could be expected to
believe them. The complete list of engineer lies is
listed below.
"I won't change anything without asking you first."
"I'll return your hard-to-find cable tomorrow."
"I have to have new equipment to do my job."
"I'm not jealous of your new computer."
Engineers are notoriously frugal. This is not
because of cheapness or mean spirit; it is simply
because every spending situation is simply a
problem in optimization, that is, "How can I escape
this situation while retaining the greatest amount of
Engineers hate risk. They try to eliminate it
whenever they can. This is understandable, given
that when an engineer makes one little mistake the
media will treat it like it's a big deal or something.
* Hindenberg.
* Space Shuttle Challenger.
* SPANet(tm)
* Hubble space telescope.
* Apollo 13.
* Titanic.
* Ford Pinto.
* Corvair.
The risk/reward calculation for engineers looks
something like this:
RISK: Public humiliation and the death of
thousands of innocent people.
REWARD: A certificate of appreciation in a
handsome plastic frame.
Being practical people, engineers evaluate this
balance of risks and rewards and decide that risk
is not a good thing. The best way to avoid risk is by
advising that any activity is technically impossible
for reasons that are far too complicated to explain.
If that approach is not sufficient to halt project,
then the engineer will fall back to a second line of
defense: "It's technically possible but it will cost too
Ego-wise, two things are important to engineers:
* How smart they are.
* How many cool devices they own.
The fastest way to get an engineer to solve a
problem is to declare that the problem is
unsolvable. No engineer can walk away from an
unsolvable problem until it's solved. No illness or
distraction is sufficient to get the engineer off the
case. These types of challenges quickly become
personal - a battle between the engineer and the
laws of nature.
Engineers will go without food and hygiene for
days to solve a problem (other times just because
they forgot). And when they succeed in solving the
problem they will experience an ego rush that is
better than sex - and I'm including the kind of sex
where other people are involved.
Share this with them, see if it applies
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