Here is a perfect example of why engineers generally don’t do theater, especially serious dramas.

I had the opportunity recently to hear a scene from Our Town. Emily, the main character speaks first and then the Stage Manager, sort of an involved narrator, responds. It goes like this:

Emily – “Does anybody ever realize life while they live it? Every, every minute?”

Stage Manager – “No. The saints and the poets. They do some.”
Thornton Wilder, Our Town


I have been through this play numerous times but it wasn’t until the other night, hearing these lines, that it struck me how anti-engineer, and wrong, this thinking is. All right, we will let the saints part of the line to stay uncontested. But poets? Do poets realize life by providing clean water for people? Do poets realize life by harnessing electricity to raise our standard of living? Do poets realize life when they develop, design, and build engines that allow us to move around this country through numerous modes of transportation? No. No. and No.

Engineers realize life as they provide things that enables the public to enjoy life. Engineers make life so efficient and liveable.

We should rewrite that line to:

Stage Manger – “Not many. The saints do some. Engineers – a lot!”