Thursday, August 13, 2009

An Anniversary Missed

I've neglected this blog this week. The busyness of life has crept up on me. Been writing, just not here. At home I had some family financial things to worry about. At work it was the usual crush of people wanting me to do their work for them, and me trying to train them how to do it. Yesterday I was concerned with an ethical lapse by one of our younger engineers, and trying to decide what to do about it. And I taught a noon hour brown bag class yesterday.

July 9 was the 30th anniversary of my being a licensed professional engineer. I remembered in May that this was coming up, and planned to do something special for it, maybe Lynda and her mom and me going out for a nice meal somewhere. But the day came and went with me not remembering it.

I took the exam in Topeka, Kansas in April 1979. That was six months later than I could have first taken it, but at the earlier time I was taking two evening courses to try to complete my masters degree, so I put off the exam. I left the exam feeling pretty good about it. A month later I received a letter from the Kansas licensing board--the afternoon portion of the exam was lost and I would have to re-take it. So it would be back to Topeka.

I debated whether to study again. I think I did some, but not a whole lot. Charles was an infant at the time, so he was taking some attention. I wondered if they would have the exact same exam, or have a new one. After all, if the same exam you would mostly remember the problems you worked and could over-study in that area. I didn't particularly want to gamble on that, so whatever studying I did for this second exam, I distributed among all the problem types I would want to answer.

The day of the exam, the board secretary explain how some Kansas exams were found in the South Carolina post office of the town where they are graded. About 60 percent of the afternoon exams were lost, 20 percent of the morning, and 4 poor schmucks had both parts lost. The fault was with the PO, for she had packaged them well. She passed out the exams for re-taking, and they were the same as the first time! So I was able to go straight to the problems I picked and did before, whipped through them, and was out in an hour instead of four. On July 9, 1979 the letter I was really wanting came, declaring a passing grade and that I was a P.E. as of that date.

The 40th anniversary will come in 2014. I should still be working as an engineer then, at least based on how my writing career is not taking off. Maybe I can talk the company to throw a small party in my honor on that day.


Gary said...

The 40th will be in 2019.

Maybe you need to retake the exam?


David A. Todd said...


Maybe I need to throw away my calculator and go back to doing the math.