As mentioned in other posts, engineers are not portrayed all that well by the entertainment industry. They are typically seen as nerd-ish eggheads, boring, bland, and definitely not flashy. Is that us? The notable exception outside of sci-fi to this portrayal (sort of) is MacGyver. To be fair, I don’t think they ever actually stated that MacGyver was an engineer, but he approached situations as an engineer would and solved many of the world’s problems like an engineer.

For those too young to know of him, MacGyver was a technology-oriented guy that could use items like a gum wrapper, a paper clip, and duct tape, and either fix a car that was beyond repair to the most talented mechanic, or defuse an atomic bomb. Yes, he was that good. He solved problems with whatever he had. He had to be resourceful and always thinking. Deep down, he was an engineer.

I will admit that there is one thing MacGyver did that engineers typically do not. Attract women. He ended up being way too cool and a little too non-engineering-ish by having a softer, relational side of him. But, that being overlooked, he was a great example of how the engineer sees himself. The problem-solver, with technical skills and insight into how to get things done. And maybe a little cool.

Can engineers have a great role model like that without the entertainment industry ruining it? No. The entertainment spoils that, too, by spoofing him on SNL and in a B-movie.

I don’t care. I still consider myself a MacGyver.