18 June 2012 by Vitali Vitaliev
The number of responses - again! - has outstripped all expectations proving - for the umpteenth time - that engineers in their majority are not a bunch of anti-social "hairy-eared" nerds but a cheerful lot, with a great sense of dry self-deprecating humour.
Well, I am sorry to say that for most of you the good news ends here and severe reality intervenes. From this point on, I have to be ruthless. You may have guessed what is to follow. Quite right! I am going to name the readers who have sent in the best (from my point of view) jokes - a mind-bogglingly difficult task, made only somewhat easier by the fact that a number of entrants have ignored an important requirement: BREVITY! An endlessly long joke is an oxymoron and a paradox, like a four-angled triangle - that was why I asked for offerings NOT to exceed 100 words.
"Rira bien qui rira le dernier," as the French say ("He who laughs last, laughs best"). With this Gaulic wisdom in mind, let's reveal the best ten entries:
The machine was broken and three men were considering the problem. The Craftsman knew he needed to hit it, the Technician knew where, but the Engineer knew how hard (Trevor Miles, IEng MIET)
A mathematician, an engineer and a physicist are being interviewed for a job, and each one is asked the same question: "How much is one plus one?". The mathematician thinks for a moment and says: "I am not sure, but I think it converges." The physicist says: "I am not sure, but I think it's on the order of one." The engineer gets up, closes the door of the office, and says: "How much do you want it to be?" (Alexander Balazs)
I went into a pub the other day where I heard this parrot say: "Pieces-of-seven, pieces-of-seven!" I turned to the landlord and said: "He's got it wrong: it's 'pieces-of-eight', isn't it?" The landlord said: "Don't worry; it's only a parity error!" (Andrew Ainger BSc, Ceng. FIET)
Four engineers were trying to establish whose was the oldest discipline. Electrical Engineer claimed the honour because electrical activity brought life to the planet. "Rubbish!" said Mechanical Engineer. "The mechanics of the mountains and volcanic eruptions were there long before life started!". The Civil Engineer made it clear it was civil engineering which had brought order to the planet and took it out of the chaos. "And who do you think created the chaos in the first place??" demanded the Consulting Engineer triumphantly. (Roy Girling)
Faced with a half-full glass, the Accountant thinks that it is twice too large, whereas the Engineer is likely to be pondering whether a factor of 2 is the best design margin to avoid spilling while in transit (John Harrison)
Two engineers were trying to find the height of a flagpole, but didn't have a ladder, so they were just standing there, looking up. A woman passer-by volunteered to help. She took a wrench from her purse, loosened a few bolts and laid the pole down. She then took a measure tape from her pocket, measured the pole, announced: "Five metres!" - and walked away. One of the engineers shook his head and laughed: "Ain't that a typical blonde! We ask for the height and she gives is the length!" (Craig Wilson)
Two navvies are laying flagstones on a footpath. A chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce pulls up alongside. The passenger rolls down the window and says proudly to the navvies: "My good men, I'll have you know that my company makes a machine which can measure the distance between those flagstones to within 2 microns." The head navvy looks up and replies: "Well, boss, it wouldn't be any use to us: we have to get these bang on!" (Noel Clarke, IEng MIET MCQI CQP, Dublin).
During the French Revolution, a Doctor, a Lawyer and an Engineer were arrested for spying. The penalty was execution by guillotine, face up. The Doctor was laid down first, but the release mechanism didn't work. The officials said: "He must be innocent!" and let him go. Then the Lawyer was put down, with the same result. The Engineer's turn came. Just as they were about to operate the guillotine, he called: "Hey! That lever is jamming against the pin, that's why it's not working!" (Roger Anderson, MIET).
Q: What does an engineer use as contraception? A: His personality. (Ian Carrington)
There are only 10 types of people in the whole world: those who understand binary and those who don't. (Brian Burgess, FMM FIMechE FIET FCMI).
Here, it would also be relevant to announce the winner of our issue 3 competition in which we asked you to come up with a caption for the drawing which accompanied Jason Goodyer's feature .... on engineering codes of ethics. The drawing features a fracas between two engineers in an office, with their colleagues looking on (see). Dozens of entries were received, but the winning one came from Bill Whyte ("They are debating the text of the ethical charter").
Coming back to the above-quoted French proverb, I decided it would be improper for me to have the last ("le dernier") and hence "the best" ("bien") laugh. I'd rather leave the last chuckle to you, my dear readers. Here's the last (for the time being) bonus joke from Brian Burgess (see above):
"The Engineer and the Mathematician arrive at the gates to Heaven. St Peter positions them two paces from the entrance and says that they must step into the gates by taking steps successively halved. St Peter then shouts: "Go!". The Mathematician doesn't move, smugly knowing that 1+1/2+1/4+1/8<2. The Engineer takes six steps, declares that is close enough and enters the gates."
Please keep sending samples of engineering humour to this blog and to firstname.lastname@example.org. Who knows, one day they may all end up in a special E&T collection...
Edited: 25 June 2012 at 02:09 PM by Vitali Vitaliev
Posted By: Vitali Vitaliev @ 18 June 2012 02:03 PM General
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