One of the biggest American joke categories is professional: plumbers, doctors, lawyers .. butcher, baker, candlestick maker and ... engineer. The observer sees several themes running through occupational jokes, not least of which is the stereotyping effort, the humor which can be found in often-ludicrous efforts to make round the corners of the square peg. One also sees the stubborn thread of contrarian pride in being "different" that runs through such collections, including this one. Note that more than one of these jokes (Take 9) has been printed in HUMOR before (in the incarnation of a computer programmer - see "Talking Frog"). You have seen other jokes retold in slightly different contexts. "Take 6" was first seen in these pages (see "Engineers"). It isn't just that the jokes transmogrify in the re-telling. They do. You can also see the flavors of other professions and geographical regions (compare the Texas Agricultural flavor Texas Engineer with the way we first heard it in Engineers).
The value of republishing different flavors of the same joke is not so much in the re-telling, but in illustrating how humor is adapted to the needs and vanities of the group in which it is circulated. Vanities? Yes, one of the last socially acceptable means of self-praise has always been self-deprecating humor. That these retold jokes remain so constant ought to tell a lot about the significance of "differences" among various professionals and regions. To the outside observer, they are much more alike than different. One boasts of regional pride, while the other (in my opinion) gets to the point without wasting much time on the differences.
Speaking of getting to the point, we hope you enjoy the following collection!
Comprehending Engineers - Take One
Two engineering students were walking across 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. She threw the bike to the ground, took off all her clothes and said, 'Take what you want.'" The second engineer nodded approvingly, "Good choice; the clothes probably wouldn't have fit."
Comprehending Engineers - Take 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.
Comprehending Engineers -Take Three
A pastor, a doctor and an engineer were waiting one morning for a particularly slow group of golfers. The engineer fumed, "What's with these guys? We must have been waiting for 15 minutes!" The doctor chimed in, "I don't know, but I've never seen such ineptitude!" "The pastor said, "Hey, here comes the greens-keeper. Let's have a word with him." "Hi John. Say, what's with that group ahead of us? They're rather slow, aren't they?" The greens keeper replied, "Oh, yes, that's a group of blind firefighters. They lost their sight saving our clubhouse from a fire last year, so we always let them play for free anytime." The group was silent for a moment. The pastor said, "That's so sad. I think I will say a special prayer for them tonight." The doctor said, "Good idea. And I'm going to contact my ophthalmologist buddy and see if there's anything he can do for them." The engineer said, "Why can't these guys play at night?"
Comprehending Engineers -Take Four
There was an engineer who had an exceptional gift for fixing all things mechanical. After serving his company loyally for over 30 years, he happily retired. Several years later the company contacted him regarding a seemingly impossible problem they were having with one of their multi-million dollar machines. They had tried everything and everyone else to get the machine to work but to no avail. In desperation, 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. At the end of the day, he marked a small "x" in chalk on a particular component of the machine and stated, "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 and the engineer retired again in peace. NOTE: This is based on a true story. The company was Ford. The machine was a very large electrical generator. The engineer was a GE retiree by the name of E. Steinmetz, undoubtedly the most brilliant electrical engineer of his time.
Comprehending Engineers -Take Five
What is the difference between Mechanical Engineers and Civil Engineers? Mechanical Engineers build weapons; Civil Engineers build targets.
Comprehending Engineers -Take Six
Three engineering students were gathered together discussing the possible designers of the human body. One said, "It was a mechanical engineer. Just look at all the joints." Another said, "No, it was an electrical engineer. The nervous system has many thousands of electrical connections." The last said, "Actually it was a civil engineer. Who else would run a toxic waste pipeline through a recreational area?"
Comprehending Engineers -Take Seven
"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."
Comprehending Engineers -Take Eight
An architect, an artist and an engineer were discussing whether it was better to spend time with the wife or a mistress. The architect said he enjoyed time with his wife, building a solid foundation for an enduring relationship.
The artist said he enjoyed time with his mistress, because of the passion and mystery he found there. The engineer said, "I like both." "Both?" Engineer: "Yeah. If you have a wife and a mistress, they will each assume you are spending time with the other woman, and you can go to the lab and get some work done."
Comprehending Engineers - Take Nine
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 and turn me back into a beautiful princess, I will 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 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, that I'll stay with you for a 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 cool."