I try to avoid cliches and there’s no more classic one about garbage collectors than that they want to be called “sanitation engineers.” Nevertheless I first tried to write a gag based on that.
I half-remembered that there was some debate or movement by some mechanical and/or structural engineering society to deny the validity of “software engineers” as engineers. Some half-assed research on the matter did not shed any real light on that and I didn’t care anyway. The gag was supposed to be based on the idea that engineers would rather be associated with garbage collectors than coders.
Whatever. Not a strong joke, and I found plenty of backlash against the term “sanitation engineer” as well. So I said screw it, and started over. Found a better concept, if still a little cliche.