I stand corrected.

As the Red-Headed Menace and I drove along this afternoon, I began musing on language.

“I was looking at the xkcd cartoon about The Martian.  The rollover text said ‘I have never seen a piece of fiction so perfectly capture the out-of-nowhere shock of discovering that you’ve just bricked something important because you didn’t pay enough attention to a loose wire.’ You do know what ‘bricked’ means, right?”

“Sure. It means to turn your computer into a paperweight.”

“That’s just it. Everyone around here knows what it means — it’s in the culture. I’m not a geek, but a lot of the people I know are. I mean, what if you were in the building trades, or real estate? ‘Bricked’ would have a different meaning. Or if you were a fan of Edgar Allen Poe stories.

“There might be some overlap between that one and geeks.”

“True… or what about the verb ‘Macgyver’? Do you  know what that means?”

“Yeah… it means to use random crap you find laying around to solve problems.”

“Exactly! But have you ever seen the television show that it comes from?”

“Once, to see the word’s origin.”

” You know, there might be another term… ‘sciencing’!”

“Sciencing? What? No. It’s too vague.”

” Did you see the trailer for The Martian? In which Matt Damon says he’s going to “science the shit” out  of stuff? It would be using science and math to solve problems. Kind of ‘scientific Macgyvering.'”

“To hell with that. Scientific Macgyvering already has a name — it’s called ‘engineering.“*

*Later in the conversation, he opined that engineers were inherently arrogant, pointing to the people in the engineering club at his school — of which he’s the treasurer — as evidence. When I repeated his father’s claim that all engineers had nightmares about designing something which failed and people died as a result, he replied “Yes, but I’m just beginning engineering. I’m still young, so naturally, I’m still arrogant.”

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