Sunday, October 12, 2008

Hunting Elephants

First of all, let me say that I am opposed to hunting elephants, especially after reading the marvelous story Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. And who, after all, cannot feel a pang of regret at the immortal words of African explorer Geoffrey T. Spaulding (aka Groucho Marx) in the film Animal Crackers: "I once shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I'll never know."


Trolling through the murky depths of my enormous digital and paper files of nearly 57 years of accumulated humorous stuff, I found this piece, which describes the approaches of people of different occupations to hunting elephants. If you love elephants, just substitute the name of some animal you don't particularly care for, and make the appropriate corrections...

The first three are for zero_zero_one:

MATHEMATICIANS hunt elephants by going to Africa, throwing out everything that is not an elephant, and catching one of whatever is left.

EXPERIENCED MATHEMATICIANS will attempt to prove the existence of at least one unique elephant before proceeding to step 1 as a subordinate exercise.

PROFESSORS OF MATHEMATICS will prove the existence of at least one unique elephant and then leave the detection and capture of an actual elephant as an exercise for their graduate students.

COMPUTER SCIENTISTS hunt elephants by exercising Algorithm A:
1. Go to Africa.
2. Start at the Cape of Good Hope.
3. Work northward in an orderly manner, traversing the continent alternately east and west.
4. During each traverse pass,
(1) Catch each animal seen.
(2) Compare each animal caught to a known elephant.
(3) Stop when a match is detected.

EXPERIENCED COMPUTER PROGRAMMERS modify Algorithm A by placing a known elephant in Cairo to ensure that the algorithm will terminate.

ASSEMBLY LANGUAGE PROGRAMMERS prefer to execute Algorithm A on their hands and knees.

HARDWARE ENGINEERS hunt elephants by going to Africa, catching gray animals at random, and stopping when any one of them weighs within plus or minus 15 percent of any previously observed elephant.

ECONOMISTS don't hunt elephants, but they believe that if elephants are paid enough, they will hunt themselves.

REPUBLICANS don't hunt elephants, but believe that if the elephants remain unregulated and pay less taxes, they will breed to such an extent that it will no longer be necessary to hunt for them.

DEMOCRATS don't hunt elephants, but believe that if they are guaranteed health care, a living minimum wage, and a good education, they will breed to such an extent that they will eventually hunt everyone else.

STATISTICIANS hunt the first animal they see N times and call it an elephant.

CONSULTANTS don't hunt elephants, and many have never hunted anything at all, but they can be hired by the hour to advise those people who do.

OPERATIONS RESEARCH CONSULTANTS can also measure the correlation of hat size and bullet color to the efficiency of elephant-hunting strategies, if someone else will only identify the elephants.

POLITICIANS don't hunt elephants, but they will share the elephants you catch with the people who voted for them.

LAWYERS don't hunt elephants, but they do follow the herds around arguing about who owns the droppings.

SOFTWARE LAWYERS will claim that they own an entire herd based on the look and feel of one dropping.

SENIOR MANAGERS set broad elephant-hunting policy based on the assumption that elephants are just like field mice, but with deeper voices.

QUALITY ASSURANCE INSPECTORS ignore the elephants and look for mistakes the other hunters made when they were packing the jeep.

STOCKBROKERS don't hunt elephants but spend their time selling elephants they haven't caught, for delivery two days before the season opens.

SOFTWARE SALES PEOPLE ship the first thing they catch and write up an invoice for an elephant.

HARDWARE SALES PEOPLE catch rabbits, paint them gray, and sell them as desktop elephants.

I hope this clears up any issues you may have with hunting elephants. I am now going to hunt for my Sunday newspaper, which I plan to enjoy at my kitchen table with a nice cup of coffee while waiting for my Very Best Beloved to wake up and join me for breakfast.

And then I plan to do as little as possible for the rest of the day. So there.

Have a good day. More thoughts coming.



John said...

What do you do with an elephant after a successful hunt?

Amanda said...

LOL! This was too funny. 57 years collecting funny stuff...thats amazing. I'm one of those people who don't collect anything.

The Mistress of the Dark said...

You always have the best LOLs :)

Mike said...

I know it's way to early to be up on a Sunday but here I am anyway reading blogs. And I'm trying to figure out why people would be haunting elephants.

Bilbo said...

John - have a ten-year supply of elephant sausage, chops, steaks, etc?

Amanda - you'd be amazed at how much stuff of all sorts I have collected over the years. The only one I finally gave up was my collection of old railroad lanterns...and that was a terrible blow, let me tell you.

Andrea - happy to be able to put a smile on your face...look at it as partial payback for all the music.

Mike - it's only a few weeks 'till Halloween...I'm sure someone is haunting elephants...maybe the restless ghosts of old safari folks from the Tarzan movies...

Melissa B. said...

What about High School English Teachers? Even though you left us out, this is still a funny post! BTW, I think you'd enjoy our Silly Sunday Sweepstakes, which I'm hosting today. Please come by to Share some Caption Love!

fiona said...

Peed my pants at this one, right here at the kitchen table, thanks for setting me on the road to incontinence!
You need to start supplying "Depends" with your posts.

Bilbo said...

Melissa - how *would* a high school English teacher hunt an elephant? Would you grab it by its dangling participle?

Fiona - this is truly one of the most interesting comments I have ever received. I hope that you did not unduly embarrass yourself.