NANFA-- longish, but funny - micro vs organismal joke

Mike Bessert (
Wed, 01 May 2002 13:41:27 -0700

Hello all.

Owing to the discussion (regarding "cell smashers" vs field
biologists/morphologists) that took place a few months ago, I thought some
of you may appreciate this joke. I heard it at a meeting this past weekend.
Although I am somewhat of a cell smasher, I hope I'm not as bad as this

Ok, so a guy is driving down a country highway somewhere out west when he
has to stop because a huge flock of sheep begins to cross the road ahead of
him. He waits and waits and waits until, finally, the last few sheep cross
and are followed by a shepherd. The man is feeling a little gamey today, so
he approaches the shepherd and asks, "Sir, if I can tell you precisely how
many sheep are in your flock, may I keep one?"

The shepherd eyes him up and down, but figures "why not?" - and agrees.

The man confidently pipes up, "You have precisely one thousand three hundred
and fifty-two sheep in your flock."

A surprised look comes over the shepherd's face and the man knows he has
guessed correctly. After a brief pause, he says, "Now, may I have one?"

The shepherd replies, "Well, that is what we agreed to, so go make your

The man runs off into the middle of the flock, makes his choice, and jogs
back toward his car carrying his prize. Just as he is about to get in, the
shepherd speaks up, "Sir, if I can guess your occupation, may I have it

The man thinks to himself, "Yeah, right. There are very few of us in my
line of work and no one even knows what we do." Smugly, he replies, "Sure.
Why not?"

In a clear and calm voice, the shepherd says, "You, my friend, are a
molecular systematist. Now, may I have my dog back?"

Mike Bessert
UNL School of Biological Sciences
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