It is commonly believed that the only occupational hazards that engineers face is cramped posteriors from sitting all day and cockeyed expression from staring at the screen for too long. There have been reports of computer-induced sterility, brains exploding because of too many Eurekas, and health problems amongst overworked programmers with 70% coffee in their blood instead of water, but those are either just rumours or extreme cases.
Most people neglect to realize the fact that an engineer's life-cycle nudges him slowly to abstain from social life outside his friends' circle, which commonly includes other engineers. As a result, jokes like the following become very popular:
Engg 1: "And when I turned it around, it was only a burnt capacitor!"
Engg's friends: "ha ha ha"
Engg 2: "And then I realized it wasn't even a capacitor, it was just a burn!"
Engg's friends: "HA HA HA HA HA"
Nearby people: Gurgle! Gurgle! Choke! Puke!
The nearby people call these "PJs" and shun the people who make them, causing immense happiness to the Goddess of Engineering, thus making engineers bond together even better. Soon the circle expands in circumference, and others start excommunicating engineers with non-engineer friends. And so it goes on ...
So, I was chatting with a friend from school the other day, who had just returned from abroad, a foretelling I had received from some (engg) friends there. We discussed the Indian victory over Sri Lanka, school nostalgia, my internship, lab reports, then I made a joke. I could detect a slight difficulty in the conversation here. It turned out she was an ornithologist.
While on ornithology, imagine a herd of noisy ravens in a tree and a gunshot nearby. Now imagine how the crows would respond to this. A similar sound went through my head when I found out her occupation.
Needless to say, we haven’t talked ever since.