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
that way.

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?

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