I thought this was a delightfully well-written article (though I tend to always think that about your articles). However, don't flatter yourself, Peggy, about your status as a schoolmarm-turned-engineer. You are really an engineer-turned-schoolmarm-turned-engineer (though under that category you probably still don't quite fit the mold of the typical attendee of the EDAC dinner). Hence, there may still be a bit of a difference between you and the proverbial schoolmarm. Even with your truly dignified manners, I believe I have observed once or twice the frat (or sorority?) table gene slip out of you. As far as loud and raucous behavior goes, I can even picture you as the occasional queen of that table. (I seem to recall an accordion... a piano singer... some Irish drinking songs). In spite of the fact that everyone seems to grumble about 'those people' at a party, sometimes it is just grand to let it go and be one of 'those people.'
I loved your observations about the group dynamics in EDAC, and indeed the entire EDA industry. It is true that they are always the same... from today's EDA world (which clearly we all intimately experience from day to day), to tomorrow's EDA world... from the elementary school playground to the university social scene. However, most truly committed and successful groups of individuals exist by behaving as if they were the ones to invent group dynamics... which is always interesting to observe. The self-obsession you refer to is a survival technique, or at least a success trick. I can distinctly remember that some of the most successul science and engineering students I encountered in college were the ones who behaved with a confidence and immortality that belied their relatively insignificant role in today's world of over 6 billion and the grand scheme of yesterday, today, and tomorrow all added up.
My, but college seems like ages ago. Frat parties in my time consisted of some tea cakes, a corset, and invariably some waltzing. Perhaps I'll play the schoolgreatgrandmarm, and leave the schoolmarm to you.