Thursday, July 28, 2005

Artists vs Engineers

I have a son. He’s a very good painter—you know easel, brushes, canvas and the smell of turpentine—who calls his work “post impressionism.”

I, on the other hand, am more of an engineer. Actually, I have an MBA degree that was focused on economics, but I have done a lot of industrial engineering and then management in my business career. All that is proves is that a graduate of Case can do anything. I called my work “boss impressionism,” and it must have worked because I wound up as the boss of a lot of bosses and their employees.

There’s not much I can do with pencils and paper and crayons to make something pretty. I can claim an indirect contribution to art because in my retirement career I was a substitute teacher in middle schools who often conducted art classes. I was able to help students develop their art careers; some of them were talented.

For each new group of students, I had the same introduction: “I am an engineer, not an artist. Engineers draw straight lines, while artists draw curved lines. Please do not ask me how to do better work. You already do better work than I do.”

It is safe to say that my son did not inherit much art talent from me. I suspect he did not inherit the talent of organizing people, money, machines and buildings in such a way that manufacturing could take place. But I do not know. He hasn’t tried to do it.

Anyway, we have both made a contribution to society, if in very different ways. And I am very glad that he has not inherited a great deal from me as I did from my father.

My father was an electrical engineer. I definitely picked up the electrical engineering gene from Dad. Also, he appears to have had Marfan Syndrome and I inherited that from him as well.

I hope that the family Marfan stopped with me.

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