I admit it. I’ve copped this directly from Dan Mitchell but it’s so good that I hope you’ll forgive me. I’ve tidied some of it up a little bit for your reading pleasure:
A cowboy named Bud was overseeing his herd in a remote mountainous pasture in Nevada when suddenly a brand-new BMW approached him out of a cloud of dust.
The driver, a man in a Brioni suit, Gucci shoes, RayBan sunglasses and YSL tie, leaned out the window and asked the cowboy, “If I tell you exactly how many cows and calves you have in your herd, will you give me a calf?”
Bud looks at the man, then looks at his peacefully grazing herd and calmly answers, “Sure, why not?”
The man parks his car, whips out his Dell notebook computer, connects it to his Cingular RAZR V3 cell phone, and surfs to a NASA page on the Internet, where he calls up a GPS satellite to get an exact fix on his location which he then feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the area in an ultra-high-resolution photo.
The man then opens the digital photo in Adobe Photoshop and exports it to an image processing facility.
Within seconds, he receives an email on his Palm Pilot that the image has been processed and the data stored. He then accesses an MS-SQL database through an ODBC connected Excel spreadsheet with email on his Blackberry and, after a few minutes, receives a response.
Finally, he prints out a full-color, 150-page report on his hi-tech, miniaturized HP LaserJet printer, turns to the cowboy and says, “You have exactly 1,586 cows and calves.”
“That’s right. Well, I guess you can take one of my calves,” says Bud.
He watches the man select one of the animals and looks on with amusement as the man stuffs it into the trunk of his car.
Then Bud says to the man, “Hey, if I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my calf?”
The man thinks about it for a second and then says, “Okay, why not?”
“You’re a bureaucrat working for the U.S. Government”, says Bud.
“Wow! That’s correct,” says the yuppie, “but how did you guess that?”
“No guessing required.” answered the cowboy. “You showed up here even though nobody called you; you want to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked. You used millions of dollars worth of equipment trying to show me how much smarter you are than I am, and you don’t know a thing about how working people make a living – or about cows, for that matter. This is a herd of sheep.”
“Now give me back my dog.”