The Cowboy versus the Yuppie
from Recreational & Educational Computing Summer 2005

A cowboy was herding his herd in a remote pasture when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced out of a dust cloud towards him. The driver, a young man in a Brioni suit, Gucci shoes, Ray Ban 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?" The cowboy looked at the man, obviously a yuppie, then looked at his peacefully grazing herd and calmly answered: "Sure. Why not?"

The yuppie parked his car, whipped out his Dell notebook computer, connected it to his AT&T cell phone, and surfed to a NASA page on the Internet. There he called up a GPS satellite navigation system to get an exact fix on his location, which he then fed to another NASA satellite that scanned the area in an ultra-high-resolution photo. The young man then opened the digital photo in Adobe Photoshop and exported it to an image-processing facility in Hamburg, Germany. Within seconds, he received an email on his Palm Pilot that the image has been processed and the data stored.

He then accessed a MS-SQL database through an ODBC- connected Excel spreadsheet with hundreds of complex formulas. He uploaded all of this data via an email on his Blackberry, and after a few minutes, received a response. Finally, he printed out a full-color, 150-page report on his high-tech, miniaturized HP LaserJet printer and finally turned to the cowboy and said: "You have exactly 1586 cows and calves."

"That's right... Well, 1 guess you can take one of my calves", said the cowboy. He watched the young man select one of the animals and looked on amused as the young man stuffed it into the trunk of his car .

Then the cowboy said to the young man: "Hey, if I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my calf?"

The young man thought about it for a second and then said: "Okay, why not?"

"You're a consultant", said the cowboy. "Wow! That's correct", said 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; and you know nothing about my business..." "Now give me back my DOG!"