Shuttle Shenanigans

Issue 3 and Volume 105.

Editor’s Note: The item below is reprinted with permission from Engineering Outlook, published by the University of Illinois College of Engineering

Stephen Licata (BSAAE ’83) writes:

Click here to enlarge image

Back in April 1981, several fraternity friends and I were very excited about the upcoming first launch of the Space Shuttle. Coincidentally, the fraternity also had a very large, old water heater that they were looking to discard. These two goals came together one night to make an amusing midnight prank.

On the evening following the successful Shuttle launch, we went down to the basement and stenciled [the incomplete national identifier] “TED STATES” in large block letters onto the white water heater. Then, with the aid of a butane lighter and the flammable exhaust of a can of hair spray, we decorated the exterior of the water heater with numerous scorch marks. The result was “a large section of the Shuttle booster that had survived a fiery re-entry through the earth’s atmosphere.”

At 3:00 a.m., several of us carefully loaded the water heater onto a truck and transported it to a grassy area of the Quadrangle just north of the Auditorium. The next day, our “space debris” elicited many chuckles at the University grounds keeping crew dutifully cut the grass around this strange and heavy (at least 200 pounds) object.

Unfortunately, this momentous event never made it into the Daily Illini!


A manager who worried a lot walked into a meeting one morning looking extremely relaxed and acting unusually optimistic. A co-worker asked, “Why are you so happy and relaxed this morning?”

The manager replied, “I found that there are professional worriers who will take on your worries for you, and I have hired one.”

“Wow,” replied the co-worker, “that’s great, what does it cost to hire a worrier?”

“Well,” responded the manager, “as you know, I worried a lot, so it is pretty expensive. It costs me $1,000 per week, but he’s worth every penny.”

“That’s a pretty high price,” replied the co-worker, “how can you afford it?”

“I don’t know,” said the manager, ” but that’s his problem.”

[Submitted by Power Engineering reader Gerald Sorensen.]

Editor’s note: Corporate communications has evolved to the point where it seems the highest and most common use of e-mail is the dissemination of jokes and humor stories to business acquaintances around the world. Power Engineering has collected a number of such communications from many anonymous e-mail sources and will present them in this space for your enjoyment. We welcome your contributions of engineering, technology or business related humorous pieces to [email protected], but please do not send copyrighted material.