Engineers and the engineering side of human nature have made society possible.
The human inventive urge to do more with less is the essence of engineering.
Link to FT Exploring Home Page Picture of Doofty Girl

Enjoy this page?
Please share it:

Best on the Web for Teachers
The Vision of Doofty Girl

Helpful page?
Please share it:

Bookmark and Share

On a far away planet (not Earth!), last Thursday,
there lived a tribe of hard working people. They called themselves the Hard Working Survivor Tribe. This name described them pretty well.
She was almost the first engineer.
They were very proud.
"We are hard workers," they often said.

"It takes hard work to survive", was what they usually said next.

It was true. Life was very hard for them. Life had always been very hard for them.

"Things have always been this way," they often said. For some reason that was a comforting thought.

They lived in flimsy shelters made of tree branches, which kept them neither warm nor dry.

Their clothes and shoes were made of animal skins. They hunted for most of their food and had to travel long distances to find food and to avoid the cold winter weather.


Early engineers invented the plow to make farmers more productive.
A plow that Doofty Girl never got to invent
It has been pointed out to us that plow is spelled plough in the UK and Australia.

Engineers do more with less.
"Look at the hard working ants," the tribes people would say.

Inventing the plow was an engineering activity.
Another plow that Doofty Girl never got to invent

Hungry sharp-toothed dorg

The engineering side of human nature led to the invention of the plow.
Various plows that Doofty Girl never got to invent

The engineering side of our nature led to the plow.
A plow that would only work in

"They did have fire"

Engineers invent things that allow us to do more with less.


An engineer never says, If it ain't broke don't fix it.
"This is the way it's always been."

Airplane designed by engineers.
"People will imagine and create a way to fly like birds..."

Early steam engine designed by engineers.
"...things that will carry people faster than a zip-cheemer will run over the land..."

    Everyone in the tribe, except very young children, had to work all the time. Everyone had to help and each person had to take care of themselves. Everyone had to know how to do everything. But the women mostly did women's work and the men mostly did men's work.

The women gathered wild grain and fruit, did all the cooking, and made all the clothes and baskets and pottery. The men did all the hunting and fishing, made the shelters, made what simple tools they had and made the weapons — big sharp sticks and heavy sticks for clubs.

Everybody except the very youngest children were busy from the time they woke up at dawn until they went to bed at night.

If a person was too sick or weak or crippled or not smart enough to take care of themselves, they had to be left out in the wild where they would soon perish from thirst or, more likely, be eaten by fierce meat eating animals. This made everyone sad. But as they often said to themselves, "Life is hard. It has always been this way. It will always be this way."

One of the young women in the tribe was called Doofty Girl because the other people in the tribe thought she was a little "Doofty". It wasn't that she wasn't a hard worker, she was. And it wasn't that she wasn't smart. She was very smart. But she was always asking silly questions and wondering about things that sensible people shouldn't be wondering about.

She would ask pointless questions like, "How come we have to walk three goong-glongs (approximately 2.8 miles) every day to get our water?" Anyone with any sense could see this was because that was where the water was. And she wondered about things like how birds fly, and what the boonmon that lit the night sky was made of, and whether or not anyone lived up there. She wondered aloud whether there might be a way to make a pointed stick fly farther and straighter. Clearly a goongly thought.

As far as the other people in the tribe were concerned she was just plain Doofty and wasted a lot of precious energy thinking and talking about things that didn't need to be thought about.

"Look at the hard working ants," the tribes people would say. "They don't waste time thinking and wondering about silly things. They just work." (And as all myrmecologists know, ants are just about the best there is when it comes to survival.)

But one evening Doofty Girl outdid even herself. The whole tribe was gathered around the campfire (they did have fire). They were tired from another hard day. It hadn't been a very successful food catching day. One of their best hunters, Deer-Cruncher, had broken his spear at the wrong moment, and been trampled by a near-sighted Borf. His leg was broken, which meant he'd had to be left in the wild. They could hear his screams as he was being devoured by a pair of hungry sharp-toothed dorgs who, unfortunately for Deer-Cruncher, were slow eaters.

Everyone was hungry.

Then Doofty Girl stood up and began to speak. "Fellow tribespersons", she began, "I have been thinking." Everyone groaned. "I have a new and exciting plan for our tribe", she continued undaunted. "It's a new vision for the Hard Working Survivor tribe that will change and improve our lives forever. Listen to my words O wise and hard working fellow survivors."

That was the fancy way they spoke in that tribe in those days on that planet. Everyone listened because they were too tired to argue and because they knew from experience that when Doofty Girl started to speak there was no way to stop her.

So Doofty Girl kept talking.

"We are a great and hard working tribe. (More fancy talk). But life is hard and not much fun."

"That is the way it should be," grunted Big-Rock-Thrower, the chief of the survivor tribe.

"What is fun?" said Woman-Who-Can-Carry-a-Really-Heavy-Load.

"Listen", said Doofty Girl. "I have discovered a new way. I have seen it in my mind. It shall be called civilization. It won't be perfect but I'm pretty sure most of you will like it more than this.

"First, I will have to stop working on all these daily survival tasks. Some of you will have to work a little harder to provide me with food and water and clothes. " A few eyebrows raised. "But I won't be idle. No, I'll be thinking and making things and experimenting and testing." More raised eyebrows. "In our new world there will have to be people who think of better ways to do things — people with imagination and creativity. I will be the first. Already I have some pretty good ideas, and I haven't really even started."

"Everybody has to work," shouted one of the women. There were many murmurs of approval.

Doofty Girl kept talking.
"We will always work hard. We will just work at different things.

"Listen! Right now we use rocks and clubs and pointed sticks to kill animals. I have some ideas for ways to make weapons that will make it much easier to kill animals by throwing pointed sticks from a far distance.

"I will also think of faster and easier ways to make clothes and shelter and to prepare food and ways to store water close by so we don't have to walk so far every time we need a drink. I even have an idea for bringing the water to us." Lots of raised eyebrows.

"I will also think of ways to store food, and ways to grow our own plants for food so we don't have to wander around all the time. I've got an idea for a way to use some big herd animals to dig up soil for planting seeds so we can grow even more plants for food. Then I will think of ways to raise animals for meat so we don't have to hunt anymore." Raised eyebrows from the few men still awake. "Unless you want to hunt for fun, of course." Some grunts of satisfaction.

"The result of all these new ways to make things will be that it will take less and less people to do all the things the tribe needs to do to survive.

"Think of it," she continued excitedly. "People will be able to pursue many other lifestyles. There will be people who do nothing but create pretty sounds for the rest of us to enjoy. Other people will make nice pictures and still others will invent a way to draw words and tell long stories for us to enjoy by looking at the word drawings.

"There will be people who do nothing but study the world around us and figure out why things are the way they are. Won't it be great to find out all the things we don't know? Others will do nothing but study how our bodies work and figure out ways to help us get well when we are sick or injured. We won't have to abandon people like poor Deer-Cruncher anymore.

"In time people will be healthier and live longer and there will be lots more people. Then they can get even more specialized. People will imagine and create a way to fly like birds and things that will carry people faster than a zip-cheemer will run over the land and over the great seas.

"I could go on and on. But I'm sure you're getting the idea. I'm talking about quality of life. Let's use these creative imaginative minds to create and explore. Surely that's what our minds are for. There must be more to life than just survival. If survival were the only thing we would all be ants.

"This will all be possible because of our problem-solving imaginative creative brains. People like me will keep thinking of better ways to do things. Do you see where we're headed? We're going to figure out ways to help the people who are making things like clothes and shoes to make more of those things than they need. Then there will be extras for the rest of us to use. Then we won't have to spend our time making those things. We'll be free to do something else. And the people who are making things will also have more time because they will be so efficient they will only have to work part of each day. They can go home at night and look at the picture stories someone else will write.

"Not everybody will have to get their own food because our inventions will allow some people to make more food than they need. Our inventions will also allow other people to make more clothes than they need so the rest of us don't have to make our own clothes. Other hard working people will use our inventions to make more shelters than they need so the rest of us don't have to make shelters all the time. And the shelters they make will last longer and be warmer and keep the rain off of us. Everything that we need and want will be made by people who will make more of those things than they need.

"And last but not least, I will invent something that won't take up much space and that we can easily carry around and trade for the things that other people made for us."

Doofty Girl finally stopped. She was smiling and looking at the chief. "Well that's about it," she said. "I'm sure you'll want to talk about this with the council. Discuss things like when I'll start and who will have to get my food and water and make my clothes and shelter while I start on my inventions."

The chief stood and bowed politely. They were a very polite tribe.

"Yes. We will talk about this. Thank you Doofty Girl for those interesting thoughts. Now I would like the tribal council to meet with me at the great council rock."

So the tribal council, which was naturally made up of the strongest and hardest working members of the tribe had a meeting.

"Did anyone understand a word she said?" asked the chief.

"Something about her not working and spending her time thinking of ways for other people to do work for her, I think," said Mammoth Slammer.

She-Who-Walks-Fast-and-Hardly-Ever-Gets-Tired nodded. "This goes far beyond being Doofty. The poor girl is loon-gang. I think she actually said something about people floating in the air like birds. And what was that about not all the men having to hunt? What will you men do with yourselves if you can't hunt?"

"Yes," agreed Slayer-of-Hungry-Big-Toothed-Dog-Packs. "It was strange and disturbing. None of it made any sense. She is hopelessly loon-gang."

The chief sighed. "Then we are in agreement. She must receive the sacred klook-nok-nok-klook-nok."

Everyone nodded sadly. Everyone but the chief returned to the campfire with the others. Chief Big-Rock-Thrower gathered the implements he would need to administer the sacred klook-nok-nok-klook-nok. Then he returned to the fire where Doofty Girl was still talking excitedly to a few curious tribes people.

Slowly the chief approached Doofty Girl from behind. In his left hand he held a rock. In his right hand was a club.

First he struck her carefully on the left side of her head in just the right spot with the rock. Klook!
Then he precisely hit her on the right side twice with the club. Nok! Nok!

Again with the rock. Klook!
And finally a perfectly aimed final blow to just the right spot with the club. Nok!

When Doofty Girl woke up she had a slight headache but otherwise felt pleasantly dull.

"Oh my goodness," she said. "I can't believe I slept so late! I've got a lot to do today." She picked up a large clay pot and started off on the long walk to the river to get water for the day. "Hmm," she said as she walked, feeling her skull. "I wonder how I got these bumps on my head? But then she forgot about it. After all, it was foolish to waste precious energy with silly thoughts."

She had a good day and got a lot of work done. Her mind was clear and the tribe was pleased to see the klook-nok-nok-klook-nok treatment had worked well.

Her mind was never again troubled by silly thoughts. Her name became No-Nonsense Woman. She lived for many hard working years until she was too old to take care of herself and the tribe had to leave her in the wilderness. She was quickly gobbled up by a huge gorge bear. It hurt quite a bit, but not for long. In her final moment of consciousness she wondered why tree leaves were green, but then chastised herself for such a foolish thought.

If this page was helpful,
please share it:

©Copyright 2010, 2014, David E. Watson. All rights reserved. Everything in the Flying Turtle web site is copyrighted. For information concerning use of this material, click on the word Copyright.