In recent months, we’ve discussed some weighty issues in this column, including space exploration and the jobless recovery. Many of you have contacted us with interesting responses and perspectives. That’s just the kind of interaction that spurs ideas and advances society. However, summer has arrived, bringing with it a chance to lighten up a little.

Engineers and technical types seem to approach leisure time a bit differently than other folk. Last week, I attended a graduation party for a relative who just earned her mechanical engineering degree at Ohio State. Half my family is engineers, while the rest work in sales, teaching, law, and other fields. During the shindig, a tense moment ensued. My father, a physics professor, decided to move the cornhole platforms closer together so the little ones and older folks would have an easier time tossing bean bags.

This did not sit well with the engineers. After the initial shock, my cousin — a metallurgy guy — proceeded to gather his tape measure and level to restore order. One of the sales guys mumbled, “I hate to say it, but it’s the engineering mentality.” All non-engineers nodded their heads in sympathy.

Dear readers, can you relate to this story? Is there some truth to engineering stereotypes? Do you have a tennis ball hanging from twine in your garage so you park in the right place? Inquiring minds want to know.

To leave you smiling, here’s a joke from Robert Seviour’s website about sales training for engineers: A pastor, doctor, and engineer were waiting for a particularly slow group of golfers ahead of them. The engineer fumed, “What’s with these guys? We’ve been waiting for 15 minutes!” The doctor chimed in, “I’ve never seen such ineptitude!” The pastor said, “Hey, here comes the greenskeeper. Let’s ask him.”
“Hi, George. What’s with the slowpokes?” The greenskeeper replied, “Oh yes, that’s a group of blind firefighters who lost their sight saving our clubhouse last year, so we let them play here anytime.”

The group was silent for a moment. The pastor said, “That’s so sad. I’ll say a prayer for them tonight.” The doctor said, “I’m going to contact my ophthalmologist buddy and see if there’s anything he can do for them.” The engineer said, “Why can’t these guys play at night?”

In a moment of respite, drop us a line and let us know how you’re engineering your leisure time.