I fall dam low on inspiration

I really enjoy blogging. After nearly 10 years of covering the international hydroelectric industry as an editor (not writer), it’s nice to get the chance to stretch my creative writing muscles once in a while. They’re still a bit stiff and underused, to be honest.

But as I was sitting in my plush office (industrial cubicle) and browsing the internet searching for inspiration for this week’s blog, I was underwhelmed by the results. Sure, I have some great topics waiting in the wings that I could write about. I’d tell you what they are, but I hate to ruin it for the three or so (maybe less) of you who actually look forward to reading my blog when it appears.

Unfortunately, while hopefully informative and thought-provoking, I found those topics I was holding in reserve to be a bit dry and not what I wanted to write about on this brisk fall day. What to do?

So … I am resorting to telling bad jokes. Follow me here.

At HydroVision International 2013 in Denver, Colo., we held our first T-shirt giveaway. The marketing staff at PennWell and the hydro group editors worked to come up with a catchy saying. Eventually we arrived at “I Attended HydroVision and Got This Dam Shirt.” Perhaps not particularly original, but we liked it.

And evidently attendees did too, as the shirts were surprisingly popular. In fact, we “sold out” on the first day and had to order a fresh batch for the second day of the event. They sold out that day as well.

What was it about these shirts that made people want them? It just had to be the catchy slogan with its (ever so slightly) provocative use of the word dam.

I started looking around for other creative uses of the word dam. Those of you who have been around this industry for a while may remember the Dam Band, which used to play during the closing luncheon of HydroVision International.  Or maybe you’ve visited the Hoover Dam Store, where you can get the “Best Dam Gifts in the West!”

That brought me to dam jokes. None of these are particularly “good,” but my favorite was:

Two fish swim into a concrete wall. One turns to the other and says, “Dam!” What does the dam say back to the fish? “Dumb bass.”

And of course there are examples of every possible variation of the word dam to describe something, from dam water to dam fish to dam restroom to, inexplicably, dam ham (don’t ask).

But, these were a bit predictable, so I moved on to find some good engineering jokes. The results here were a bit broader. I did run across some jokes I just couldn’t print on this page without blushing (they’re not hard to find, just google “engineering jokes”). Despite this, there were some good, PG-rated ones I felt comfortable sharing with you:

To the optimist, the glass is half full. To the pessimist, the glass is half empty. To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

Arguing with an engineer is a lot like wrestling in the mud with a pig. After a few hours, you realize that he likes it.

What about you? I’m sure there are some great dam and engineering puns and jokes out there. It is your DUTY to share them with the readers of HydroWorld.com. So place them in the comment box below. Who knows, your joke or play on words may be so good we put it on next year’s HydroVision International T-shirt!

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Elizabeth Ingram is content director for the Hydro Review website and HYDROVISION International. She has more than 17 years of experience with the hydroelectric power industry. Follow her on Twitter @ElizabethIngra4 .

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