A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from December 21, 2015
“An engineer, a doctor and a priest are playing golf” (joke)

"An engineer, a doctor and a priest are playing golf” is the opening line to a popular joke that has been cited in print since at least 1996. The doctor and the priest offer sympathy and accommodation to a problem, but the engineer tries to solve it.


Google Groups: dfw.general
Golf
Bryce Wray
10/19/96
wrote:
> A priest, a doctor, and an engineer were waiting one morning for a
> particularly slow group of golfers.
> Engineer: What’s with these guys?  We must have been waiting for
> 15 minutes!
> Doctor: I don’t know but I’ve never seen such ineptitude!
> Priest: Hey, here comes the greens keeper.  Let’s have a word
> with him.  Hi George.  Say George, what’s with that group ahead
> of us? They’re rather slow aren’t they?
> George: Oh yes.  That’s a group of blind fire fighters.  They lost
> their sight while saving our club house last year.  So we let them
> play here anytime free of charge!
> (silence)
> Priest: That’s so sad.  I think I will say a special prayer for
> them tonight.
> Doctor: Good idea.  And I’m going to contact my ophthalmologist
> buddy and see if there’s anything he can do for them.
> Engineer: Why can’t these guys play at night?

The way I heard it was: a golf pro met a blind golf pro, who made a bet with the seeing pro that the blind one would win if they played. The seeing pro took him up on the bet and then asked, “When can we get together?” The blind pro said, “Any night you want, fella.”

A Prairie Home Companion - Jokes 1999
March 22, 1999
A priest, a doctor, and an engineer were playing golf. The party at the next tee were hitting balls all over the place. The doctor says “what is wrong with those guys, they are taking forever to tee off?” The priest says “There’s George, the groundskeeper. Let’s ask him” George says “Oh that’s a real sad story Father. Those are blind firemen. The came to put out a fire at the clubhouse and were blinded by the smoke. We felt so bad for them that we let them play for free.” The priest said “I will pray for them.” The doctor says “I know an ophthalmologist, maybe he can help them.” The engineer says “Why can’t they play at night?”
Bill Bilkovich, Tallahassee, FL

reddit
An engineer, a doctor and a priest are playing golf (self.Jokes)
submitted May 2, 2015 by Heartshit
There is an old joke about an engineer, a priest, and a doctor enjoying a round of golf. Ahead of them is a group playing so slowly and inexpertly that in frustration the three ask the greenkeeper for an explanation. “That’s a group of blind firefighters,” they are told. “They lost their sight saving our clubhouse last year, so we let them play for free.”
The priest says, “I will say a prayer for them tonight.”
The doctor says, “Let me ask my ophthalmologist colleagues if anything can be done for them.”
And the engineer says, “Why can’t they play at night?”
Edit: added end quotes

The New Yorker
Dept. of Transportation MAY 4, 2015 ISSUE
The Engineer’s Lament
Two ways of thinking about automotive safety.

BY MALCOLM GLADWELL
(...)
There is an old joke about an engineer, a priest, and a doctor enjoying a round of golf. Ahead of them is a group playing so slowly and inexpertly that in frustration the three ask the greenkeeper for an explanation. “That’s a group of blind firefighters,” they are told. “They lost their sight saving our clubhouse last year, so we let them play for free.”

The priest says, “I will say a prayer for them tonight.”

The doctor says, “Let me ask my ophthalmologist colleagues if anything can be done for them.”

And the engineer says, “Why can’t they play at night?”

The greenkeeper explains the behavior of the firefighters. The priest empathizes; the doctor offers care. All three address the social context of the situation: the fact that the firefighters’ disability has inadvertently created conflict on the golf course. Only the engineer tries to solve the problem.

New York (NY) Times
The 2015 Sidney Awards, Part 2
David Brooks DEC. 22, 2015
(...)
Malcolm Gladwell wrote a series of pieces for The New Yorker, describing how community cultures influence our decision-making in ways we are unaware. His piece “The Engineer’s Lament” describes how engineers think.

He retells an old joke about an engineer, a priest and a doctor who are playing golf, but held up by a slow foursome ahead of them who turn out to be blind firefighters.

“I will say a prayer for them tonight,” the priest says.

“Let me ask my ophthalmologist colleagues if anything can be done for them,” the doctor says.

The engineer says, “Why can’t they play at night?”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • Monday, December 21, 2015 • Permalink