Tuesday, September 02, 2014

The Engineers' Song (clean version)

As I wrote in my last post, I found it quite unexpectedly distressing that I couldn't teach the Engineer's Drinking Song to my two-year-old without feeling rather much uncomfortable.  Now, maybe this shouldn't have surprised me at all, I mean, it is a drinking song and says so right there upon the title. But what I really like about it is the catchy tune and upbeat rhythm, which contrast quite strongly with the misogynistic and self-hating nature of the lyrics.  Have a listen and see: this video is about as clean as it gets, being performed for prospective students and all.  And I suppose that this is all to be expected from a drinking song originally from the military and then adopted by stressed out undergraduates, both of which are groups highly invested in being crass for different reasons.  I can appreciate a good bit of crassness myself, but it has its places and times, and singing to toddlers is not one of them.

But I'm really proud to be an engineer, and I think that it would be nice to have a version of that catchy tune that's positive and celebrates the things I value about my life as an engineer, and that I'd like to pass on for another generation. And so, dear readers, in the spirit of Broader Impacts and promotion of STEM field education, I present the following revised collection of lyrics, and in the spirit of our tinkering lives, I invite you all to suggest lyrical improvements, additional verses, and to spread it to the winds:

The Engineers' Song (clean)

We are, we are, we are, we are, we are the Engineers 
We can, we can, we can, we can, make anything with gears
Computers, lasers, DNA, just come along with us,
'Cause anything that we can dream, we'll build without a fuss

An engineer's an engineer from when she first can talk,
While other kids look on with awe, she's stacking up the blocks
The simple phrase "How does it work?" sets fear in parents' hearts
"Go hide the drills and screwdrivers, she'll take it all apart!"

Grace Hopper was the first to tame computers to our will
By making up compilers that let any Jack or Jill
Build network applications at a wild frenetic pace
So any time you use your phone you'd best remember Grace

When someone hires an engineer they know what they will get
A bunch of smarts and knowledge and a willingness to bet
But supervise them carefully and check what they have done,
'Cause otherwise the engineer will just build something fun

Oh, Tesla was an engineer of electricity
with coils and sparks and deathray plans as far as you could see
And when his rival Edison had lost the current war,
Well, Telsa just went to back to work on radio and more

A barbeque was going fine 'til someone dropped a match,
And set off an explosion from where lighter fluid splashed
While everybody else had panic running through their brain
The engineer said "Get some more and let's try that again!"

In great New York the Brooklyn bridge was rising every day,
The old man who'd designed it had just died and passed away
So Emily Roebling stood up and she said, "It's not so hard,"
"I've an engineering spirit, never mind what's on my card."

An engineer and sales rep were a-walking in the park,
The sales rep pitched a product that he thought would be a lark
The engineer was skeptical until he set her right,
And told her that the product would have lots of blinking lights

An engineer retired after a long and full career
Her husband asked her afterward "What will you do now dear?"
She turned back to her husband with a smile lit like the sun
"My love you know, now I'll have time to get some real work done."

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