David Rabbitborough's A to Z of Australian Species

 

THE ENGINEER

Many species in the animal kingdom such as beavers and termites are builders. In human society, the equivalent species is the Engineer.

Like caterpillars, engineers undergo a metamorphosis during their lives. Young engineers are ugly brown hairy creatures with desert boots that cluster in hotels increasing their bodyweight with fermented liquids, but as they grow older they shed their bulky woollen coverings and facial hair and start to grow the feature by which they are most readily identified: a hard yellow or white shell like a tortoise's, that covers their heads.

Mature engineers are most often seen walking slowly around construction sites in groups. They usually carry cylinders of rolled up paper with which to point and as weapons against their natural enemy, the building labourer. Despite their clean white shirts and ties however, engineers are essentially concerned with dirt. Mining engineers dig it up, transport engineers carry it around and construction engineers mix it with water and pour it into moulds. Electrical engineers then come and drill holes through it all.

Interestingly there is no female of the species and engineers must interbreed with other groups in order to reproduce which has given rise to wide diversity within the species. One variety is called the Mechanical Engineer because of its routine and inflexible ways of doing things. Others are called Civil Engineers which is a misnomer because they're usually not. All in all they're an odd little creature that has been somewhat underestimated and probably should continue to be.

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