Dr. Peter Crowcroft of the department of zoology at the University of Texas is a former director of zoos. In a UBC lecture earlier sponsored by the Vancouver Institute earlier this year, he said: "You cannot overestimate the ignorance of the average person. We once did a very interesting experiment. We had an empty pen with a barn at the back. We left the barn door open and put up a sign that read: 'UNICORN. EXTINCT DUE TO EDUCATION. FEEDS ON FLOWER PETALS. ATTRACTED TO VIRGINS.' Most people that came along tried to peer in the open door, convinced that the unicorn was hiding somewhere in the barn. Except for one little boy who said to his father, 'But Daddy! There's no such thing.' To which Daddy replied, 'Don't be stupid. Can't you read the sign?'"
DILBERT CREATOR FOOLS COMPUTER EXECS
SAN JOSE, California (AP) -- Scott Adams doesn't just lampoon consultants in his Dilbert cartoon strip, he can also pose as one and make managers believe him. Adams, whose strip appears in 1,700 newspapers in 51 countries, spouted nonsense during a meeting with executives of a Silicon Valley company, and most of them -- following the lead of their boss -- just nodded in agreement. "What if I was a management consultant?" Adams wondered. "I could lead a bunch of executives in writing a mission statement so impossibly complicated that it has no real context whatsoever." An account of Adam's hoax, which happened last month at Logitech International -- the world's biggest maker of computer mice -- was printed in the San Jose Mercury News' Sunday magazine, West. Adams pulled off the deception with the cooperation of Logitech co-founder and vice chairman Pierluigi Zappacosta. Zappacosta summoned executives to a meeting with Adams -- alias Ray Mebert -- to draft a new mission statement for Logitech's New Ventures Group. His memo touted Mebert as an expert who could help the group "crisply define" its goals. Adams is hardly anonymous. His photo appears on his best-selling books and elsewhere, and his Dilbert cartoons get pinned up on bulletin boards and employee cubicles at innumerable companies, including Logitech. He disguised himself with a wig and fake mustache. He also arrived at Logitech's Fremont, California, headquarters with a photographer, videotaping crew and a writer. He told the group his credentials included work on Procter & Gamble Co.'s "Taste Bright Project," a supposedly secret effort to boost sales by improving the taste of soap. "There actually are some people who admitted in focus groups that they would sometimes taste soap," Mebert explained. Executives nodded agreement. Mebert sneered at the New Ventures Group's existing statement -- "to provide Logitech with profitable growth and related new business areas" and led an exercise in which managers suggested words and ideas that might become part of a new one. The new statement read: "The New Ventures Mission is to scout profitable growth opportunities in relationships, both internally and externally, in emerging, mission inclusive markets, and explore new paradigms and then filter and communicate and evangelize the findings." Finally, the ersatz consultant drew a last diagram, one that he said would bring the session into focus. It was a picture of Dilbert, and Mebert then pulled off his wig, revealing Adams' thinning locks. "You've all been had," he said. The executives took the joke with good grace. "If Adams hadn't revealed himself, I wonder how many of us would have gone home and tried tasting our soap?" joked Jack Zahorsky, senior program manager for control devices. Copyright 1997 The Associated Press.
A TRUE STORY OUT OF SAN FRANCISCO:
It seems a man, wanting to rob a downtown Bank of America, walked into the branch and wrote "This iz a stikkup. Put all your muny in this bag" on a deposit slip. While standing in line, waiting to give his note to the teller, he began to worry that someone had seen him write the note and might call the police before he reached the teller window. So he left the Bank of America and crossed the street to Wells Fargo. After waiting a few minutes in line, he handed his note to the Wells Fargo teller. She read it and, surmising from his spelling errors that he was not the brightest light in the harbor, told him that she could not accept his stick up note because it was written on a Bank of America deposit slip and that he would either have to fill out a Wells Fargo deposit slip or go back to Bank of America. Looking somewhat defeated, the man said "Ok" and left. The Wells Fargo teller then called the police who arrested the man a few minutes later, as he was waiting in line back at Bank of America.
When a man attempted to siphon gasoline from a motor home parked on a Seattle street, he got much more than he bargained for. Police arrived at the scene to find an ill man curled up next to a motor home near spilled sewage. A police spokesman said that the man admitted to trying to steal gasoline and plugged his hose into the motor home's sewage tank by mistake. The owner of the vehicle declined to press charges, saying it was the best laugh he'd ever had.