A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from October 16, 2011
“Hot air balloon lands in a field” (accountant/ economist/ mathematician joke)

One joke has a hot air balloonist blown off course and landing in a field, where he meets someone. The balloonist asks “Where am I?” and the man replies, “You’ve landed in a large field.” The balloonist then tells the man that he must be an accountant (or an economist, or a mathematician, et al.) because the answer was completely accurate and utterly useless.

In some versions of the joke, the man replies that the balloonist must be in management because he doesn’t know who he is or where he’s going, yet he blames someone else.

The joke has been cited in print to at least 1967 or 1977 (in full form).


Google Books
Life in the Crystal Palace
By Alan Harrington
New York, NY: Avon Books
1967
Pg. 207:
Some balloonists were lost over the countryside. They descended, floating over some farmers. One of the balloonists leaned out with a megaphone, made signals to the farmers, and bellowed: “Where are we?” The reply came back: “You? You’re in a balloon!”

4 May 1977, Danville (VA) Register, “Lane’s Priority List” by John North, pg. 1B, col. 3:
Poking fun at the law profession, he told a story of two men riding a hot air balloon. As they floated over a farmer tilling his garden, one of the balloonists, thinking they might be off course, asked the farmer where they were.

“You’re in a balloon,” the farmer answered, pausing only a moment from his labors. The other balloonist, laughing, remarked, “That’s a lawyer for you. The answer he gave us was quick, technically accurate and it wasn’t worth a damn!”

9 November 1977, Statesville (NC) Record & Landmark,"As Seen From Here” by E. S. Gregg, pg. 6D, col. 1:
This event called to mind a balloon story American style. A balloonist had not been too observant and at low altitude could not recognize where he was. Seeing a farmer in a field he was passing over, he yelled down, “Where am I?” To which the farmer replied, “In a balloon up there, you dumb idiot.”

Google News Archive
1 February 1980, Sarasota (FL) Journal, “Cope’s Column” by Bill Copeland, pg. 8A, col. 3:
Jolly Jake tells of the hot air balloonist who drifted into some clouds and got lost. Letting out air to get lower, he spotted a stranger sitting in a tree and called, “Where am I?” The answer was, “You’re in a balloon.” The balloonist said, “You are either an accountant or an engineer.” The tree-sitter responded, “I’m an accountant, but how did you know?” The ballonist told him, “You answer to my question was correct and concise, but totally worthless.”

Google Books
Plans: impact and implementation : proceedings of February 15, 1980 Conference on Planning for Growth Management
Honolulu City Council, Office of Council Services
1980
Pg. 45:
Planners tell a story about two planners flying in a hot air balloon. lt started to leak and they were forced to land in an open field. A man walked up to the balloon and one of the planners asked: “Where are we?” The man answered: “You are in a balloon.” One planner turned to the other and said: “I’ll bet you he is an attorney.” The other planner was dumbfounded, but went ahead and took the bet. The planner asked the man: “What is your profession?” He answered” “I’m a lawyer.” The losing planner asked: “How did you know he was a lawyer?” The other planner responded: “Easy, his answer was completely accurate, but useless.”

Google Books
Problem Solving in a Project Environment:
A consulting process

By L. Thomas King
New York, NY: Wiley
1981
Pg. 75:
During a small break in the clouds, they saw a person down below on the ground—whereupon one of the balloonists leaned over and yelled, “Where are we?” to the individual on the ground. The response was, “You’re in a balloon.” One of the balloonists turned to the other one and said, “That person is a lawyer.” When the other one asked why, the answer was, “He gave us a technically correct but totally useless response.”

Google Books
December 1988, Field & Stream, “When Ethics Should Be Law” by George Reiger, pg. 13, col. 1:
It seems that two people were enjoying the scenery from a hot-air balloon when they drifted into a cloud. When they emerged an hour later, they were lost. They saw a man walking through a field below and descended to hail him.

“Where are we?” one of the balloonists called down as they glided overhead.

The man in the field looked up, thought a moment, then replied, “You’re in a balloon!”

One of the balloon’s occupants said to the other, “He must be an economist.”

“Why?”

“Because what he said is perfectly true but totally irrelevant.”

Google Books
Journal of Management Consulting
Volume 6, Issues 2-4
1990
Pg. ?
A hot air balloonist was flying across the country when his balloon developed a leak. He landed in a field near a road and asked a motorist: “Where am I?” The motorist answered: “You’re in a hot air balloon and you just landed in a farmer’s field.” The balloonist replied: “You must be a management consultant. You just told me something that is perfectly obvious, totally accurate, and of absolutely no use.”

Google Books
The Physician’s Survival Guide to the Business of Medicine
By Robert W. Katz
Gaithersburg, MD: Aspen Publishers
1994
Pg. XIII:
Accountants are familiar with the story of the hot air balloonist who was blown far off course. He landed in a field, totally lost, and spotted a man walking nearby.
“Where am I?” he yelled.
The man replied, “You’re in the basket of a hot air balloon in the middle of the field.”
The balloonist shouted back, “You must be a CPA.”
The man stopped suddenly. “How did you know?”
“It was easy to figure out,” the balloonist said. “Your answer to my question was precise...and totally useless.”

Accountancy Forum
accountant1
Posted - Oct 27 2005 :  9:09:53 PM
A lost balloonist lands in a random field and asks a man out walking his dog “Where am I?”

The man replies “you are three feet in front of me in the middle of a field”

“You must be an accountant!” retorts the balloonist

“How did you know that?” the man asks incredulously

“Easy. What you just told me is 100% accurate but absolutely useless!”

Bad Astronomy and Universe Today Forum
Ronald Brak
06-June-2006, 04:09 AM
A social scientist was hiking through the country when a hot air ballon drifted overhead. A man in it called out, “Hey! Can you tell me where I am?”
The social scientist shouted to him, “You’re 30 meters above me in a big balloon!”
“Brilliant!” said the man. “You must be an economist!”
“Yes I am, how did you know?” said the scientist.
“Because,” replied the man, “Your answer was both completely correct and totally useless.”
“Well you must be a politician,” said the scientist.
“Yes I am! How did you know that?” said the man in the balloon.
“Because you have such a great view from up there and you still don’t know where you are or where you’re going.”

Here Is the City
The Front Office / Back Office Joke
5 years ago
Here’s an oldie but goodie sent in by one of our readers:
(...)
‘And you my friend’, said the man below, ‘must work in Front Office’.

‘I do’, said the balloonist. ‘But how come you knew that ?’.

‘Well’, replied the man with his feet on the ground, ‘you don’t know where you are, or where you are going. You made a promise which you are not going to keep, and you are now looking to me to solve your problems. And the fact is that you are in exactly the same predicament you were in before we meet, yet somehow all the blame is now being laid on me!’.

xkcd.com
Favorite math jokes
by Zohar » Sat May 26, 2007 10:43 am UTC
(...)
John and Michael are in a floating balloon above a canyon.
John turns to Michael and says “I think we’re lost”, so Michael leans over the canyon and shouts “CAN ANYONE HELP US? WE DON’T KNOW WHERE WE ARE!”
His shout echoes in the canyon and a few minutes later they hear “YOU’RE IN A FLOATING BALLOON ABOVE A CANYON!”
John laughs and says “That’s must’ve been a mathematician.”
“How do you know?” asked Michael.
“Simple, his answer was completely accurate and utterly useless”.

Ultimi Barbarorum
Economist brains
Posted on June 1, 2009
(...)
COMMENTS
Nancy | June 1, 2009 at 18:20
Okay. I can’t resist sharing this economist joke. It seems so appropriate these days.
A man in a balloon gondola lands in the middle of a field. he asks a passerby, “where am I?” The man responds: “You are standing in a gondola in the middle of a field.”
“you must be an economist,” the man says.
“yes, how did you know?”
“Everything you said is true and irrelevant.”
And, I might add, everything the economist said was completely rational.

Zero Hedge
ViSuaL CoMBaT DaiLY (10.15.11) (99.999999999999%)
Submitted by williambanzai7 on 10/15/2011 15:44 -0400
Do you know the story about the guy who lands his balloon in the middle of a huge field?

A bearded guy in a tweed jacket and chinos comes running up and yells “can I help you?”

The guy in the balloon shouts, “can you tell me where I am?”

The bearded guy yells back, “you are apparently in a balloon in the middle of what appears to be a giant field.”

The guy in the balloon yells back, “you must be a PhD or nobel economist.”

The bearded guy yells, “that’s incredible how did you know?”

Answer: “Because what you just told me is totally accurate and totally useless.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBanking/Finance/Insurance • (2) Comments • Sunday, October 16, 2011 • Permalink


i am an accountant i really laugh hard reading this article. just like the old times im gonna use this kind of jokes to my office mates. Good thing i can access this site in the office.

Posted by chicago accountant  on  05/10  at  04:04 AM

Nice post and great informationgrin

Posted by Accountant Honolulu  on  09/07  at  03:56 AM

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