Thursday, December 06, 2007

Pretty birdie*!

Fourteen years of school and college
Filled my mind with useful knowledge:
Arithmetic, reading, writing; science subjects held no fear.
Compulsory athaletics
(Though at gym I was pathetic.
You can be unsympathetic). I was told one day that we’re
Interviewed by the headmaster, “University draws near.
Learn to be an engineer.”

Off I went to Portsmouth Poly
On some full-time student jolly
With a student grant that unbelievably should last all year.
Forty hours a week of study,
Then at weekends getting muddy.
End-of-term exams were bloody difficult to pass, I fear.
But I scraped through with a 2-2. Celebrated with a beer.
“Now I am an engineer.”

“Not so fast. There’s a recession,”
I was told. It caused depression.
Nobody required a newly-graduated engineer.
Six month’s gainless unemployment
Caused a dearth of life enjoyment.
Much rejection; much annoyment. Why did I choose this career?
Many dozen applications, ’til at last, “A job is here.
Come, ‘Assistant Engineer’.”

From my fam’ly I departed,
Now the world of work had started.
I, like Norman Tebbit’s dad, had ridden off to get to here.
Minuscule remuneration,
Highly-priced accommodation,
Financial emasculation. What a start to a career!
Far from grand, in bedsit land I lived, with everything too dear
For a civil engineer.

But I trained ‘under agreement’.
That is what my boss said. He meant
I should have no social life, training to be an engineer.
Ev’ry night another semin-
-Ar. (Do they let only men in
Wearing suits, not jeans or denim?) Always dress in business gear.
Sartorial elegance is mandatory, yes my dear,
If you are an engineer.

Ten years later, with a house,
And still as poor as a church mouse.
Mortgage payments, household bills, and not the cost of fags and beer.
Couldn’t make ends meet in Blighty,
So I made what was a mighty
Brave decision late one nighty. “I’m fed up of living here!
I am off to be an expat. Be an expat UAE-er
Where they’ll need an engineer.”

Twenty years since graduation,
I live in a foreign nation.
Finally the studying and training has paid off, my dear.
This is what it represents,
And why it’s no coincidence
Professionals oft take offence whenever the photocopier
Needs attendance by the man who styles himself as ‘engineer’.
He is not an engineer!

You don’t need a BSc
Or some post-graduate degree
To fix up the Electrolux because it’s making noises queer.
Characters like Casey Jones
Are cause of many anguished groans
From engineers, as I have shown. Do you agree? Then sign up here.
LL B or MD, MICE, and a PhD are
‘Lawyer’; ‘Doctor’; ‘Engineer’.

(*Edgar Allen Poe on Prozac)


DUBAI JAZZ said...


Gnomad said...

splendid! :)

Chris said...


Mme Cyn said...

Yes, as an American I've always thought it odd that here (and I understand in Britain) the guys who fix the photocopiers and washing machine are called engineers. In America they're called 'technicians'. And in spite of Casey Jones, nowadays we call the guys on the trains "engine drivers".


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