My heroes: Wile E. Coyote

Wile E. Coyote had a major influence on my decision to become an engineer.

He had a very DIY ethic. He kept getting those crates of hardware from Acme and building machines to help him eat the roadrunner. My favorite might be the catapult cartoon, where the intractable machine smashes him (instead of the roadrunner) in at least a half-dozen ways. I'm laughing just thinking about it, and I haven't seen it in decades.

It's a brilliant commentary on physics--Wile standing there scratching his head, and the rock just sliding off the giant flyswatter onto him, or the rock standing absolutely still while the whole wooden frame flips over and smacks him--and it probably bent my young mind into a deep skepticism against expecting things to behave in a certain way.

If I got a tattoo (I'm the last surviving GenXer without one), it would be Wile. Maybe the picture above, with the subtitle "ENGINEER".