Two People – One Parachute
You are one of TWO persons on a malfunctioning aeroplane with only one parachute. How would you react? Here are the likely responses from major groups of people:
Pessimist: you refuse the parachute because you might die on the jump anyway.
Optimist: you refuse the parachute because people have survived crashes just like this before and someone else will have a chance
Procrastinator: you play a game of Monopoly for the parachute.
Bureaucrat: you conduct a feasibility study on parachute use in multi-engine aircraft under code red conditions.
Lawyer: you charge one parachute for helping to sue the airline.
Doctor: you say you need to run more tests, then take the parachute in order to make your next appointment.
Sales Executive: you sell the parachute at top retail rates and get the names of their friends and relatives who might like one too.
Internal Revenue Service Inspector: you confiscate the parachute along with his luggage, wallet, and gold fillings.
Engineer: you make another parachute out of aisle curtains and dental floss.
Scientist: you give away the parachute and ask the other guy to send you a report on how well it worked.
Mathematician: you refuse to accept the parachute without proof that it will work in all cases.
Philosopher: you ask how they know the parachute actually exists.
English major: you explicate simile and metaphor in the parachute instructions.
Computer Scientist: you design a machine capable of operating a parachute as well as a human being could.
Economist: you plot a demand curve by asking them, at regular intervals, how much they would pay for a parachute.
Psychoanalyst: you ask what the shape of a parachute reminds one of.
Dramatist: you tie the other down so he can watch you develop the character of a person stuck on a falling plane without a parachute.
Artist: you hang the parachute on the wall and sign it.
Environmentalist: you refuse to use the parachute unless it is biodegradable.
Sports Fan: you start betting on how long it will take to crash.
Auto Mechanic: as long as you are looking at the plane engine, it works fine.
Surgeon General: you issue a warning that skydiving can be hazardous to your health.
Association of Tobacco Growers: you explain very patiently that despite a number of remarkable coincidences, studies have shown that jumping out of a plane is NOT harmful to your health.
Q: What if you’re an optimistic lawyer?