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Roberto Henry Ebelt



The following joke – ANEDOTA – first appeared here in Brazil, divulged in the internet, in a slightly different way, so many of you, I believe, will recall it. It had to do with a lost balloonist (member of the most important Brazilian political party) trying to find where he was, and an engineer who immediately recognized the balloonist as a member of the mentioned political party due to the stupid questions asked by the balloonist.

Balloon landing in Mashgh square, Iran (Persia), at the time of Nasser al-Din Shah Qajar, around 1850.
Balloon landing in Mashgh square, Iran (Persia), at the time of Nasser al-Din Shah Qajar, around 1850.

Remember that the word ANECDOTE is a false cognate. It does not refer to what, in Portuguese, is known as ANEDOTA or PIADA.

ANECDOTE refers to a short narrative describing an interesting or amusing incident involving real people.

Now, let us get back to the joke:
A cowboy named Bud was overseeing his herd in a remote mountainous pasture in California when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced toward him out of a cloud of dust. The driver, a young man in a Brioni® suit, Gucci® shoes, RayBan® sunglasses and YSL® tie, leaned out the window and asked the cowboy, "If I tell you exactly how many cows and calves you have in your herd, will you give me a calf?"

CALF (plural CALVES) means BEZERRO.

Bud looks at the man, who obviously is a yuppie, then looks at his peacefully grazing herd and calmly answers, "Sure, why not?"

YOUPPIE: "Young Urban Professional", (slang term for) young wealthy successful person. It has a derogatory connotation.

The yuppie parks his car, whips out his Dell® notebook computer, connects it to his Cingular RAZR V3® cell phone, and surfs to a NASA page on the Internet, where he calls up a GPS satellite to get an exact fix on his location, which he then feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the area in an ultra-high-resolution photo.

The young man then opens the digital photo in Adobe Photoshop® and exports it to an image processing facility in Hamburg, Germany.

Within seconds, he receives an email on his Palm Pilot® informing that the image has been processed and the data stored. He then accesses an MS-SQL® database through an ODBC connected Excel® spreadsheet with email on his Blackberry® and, after a few minutes, receives a response.

Finally, he prints out a full-color, 150-page report on his hi-tech, miniaturized HP LaserJet® printer, turns to the cowboy and says, ”You have exactly 1,586 cows and calves."

"That's right. Well, I guess you can take one of my calves," says Bud.

He watches the young man select one of the animals and looks on with amusement as the young man stuffs it into the trunk of his car.


Then Bud says to the young man, "Hey, if I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my calf?"

The young man thinks about it for a second and then says, "Okay, why not?"

"You're a Congressman ", says Bud.

"Wow! That's correct," says the yuppie”, but how did you guess that?"

"No guessing required." answered the cowboy. "You showed up here even though nobody called you; you want to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked. You used millions of dollars worth of equipment trying to show me how much smarter than me you are; and you don't know a thing about how working people make a living - or about cows, for that matter. This is a herd of sheep.


Now give me back my dog.

The natural trend is for us, who live in the Southern Hemisphere of planet Earth, to be influenced by the culture of people who live in the Northern Hemisphere. When I was a kid, I used to think that soccer had its origin in Brazil. I was wrong. The first Brazilian soccer team was founded by a German (Johannes Minnemann) in 1900 (if you consider Sport Club Rio Grande) or by an Englishman in 1894 (Charles Miller), if you consider São Paulo Athlectic Club. It doesn’t make any difference, however. Both Germany and England are in the Northern Hemisphere.
Remember that, in the 21st century, if you are not fluent in English, you may be considered a third-class citizen. First class citizens are politicians and public servants. Second class citizens are Brazilians who speak English and know how to use a computer. And third class citizens are the rest of the population.

Have an excellent weekend.

Tags: Roberto Henry Ebelt, ensino, inglês

Roberto Henry Ebelt é professor, escritor, escreveu uma coluna semanal para o Jornal do Comércio de Porto Alegre entre 2001 e 2013, e é diretor do curso HENRY'S BUSINESS ENGLISH desde 1971.

Seu mais recente livro, O QUE VOCÊ DEVE SABER ANTES DE ESTUDAR INGLÊS, pode ser encontrado nas livrarias Disal, Cultura e SBS ou à rua Hoffmann, 728 em Porto Alegre.

E-mail: roberto@henrys.com.br
Fone (51) 3222-3144
Página no Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/henrysbusinessnglish/?pnref=lhc

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