By: Robert R. Sachs
A shepherd is tending a huge flock of sheep in a field beside a country road. A man comes walking down the road and approaches the shepherd. "I bet you $100 against one of your sheep that I can tell you the exact number in this flock." The shepherd thinks it over; it's a big flock, so he takes the bet. The man pulls out a notepad and looks the flock over, assessing how wide and how deep it extends into the field. He retrieves a small thermometer and barometer from his briefcase and measures the temperature and air pressure. He consults some tables in his notepad, jots some equations and then looks up at the shepherd. "973," says the man. The shepherd is astonished, because that is exactly right. "I don’t know how you did it, sir, but you are spot on,” says the puzzled shepherd. “I'm a man of my word; take an animal." The man picks one up and begins to walk away. "Wait," cries the shepherd. "Let me have a chance to get even. Double or nothing that I can guess your exact occupation." The man is intrigued by this proposition and nods in assent. "You are an economist for a government think tank," says the shepherd flatly. "Amazing!" responds the man. "You are exactly right! But tell me, how did you deduce that?" "Well," says the shepherd, "put down my dog and I will tell you."