Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Turkey hunting

I was out at an apple orchard this past weekend and saw an older gentleman hunting turkeys.  I watched with awe the process of hunting wild turkeys, he had a box, propped up with a stick and a string attached to that.  Then he placed seeds under the box. 

Eventually, about a dozen turkeys wandered by.  I have a lot of spare time, to stay and watch all this.  Immediately, about 10 of the turkeys go under the box and start eating the seeds.  I am about to leap across and pull the string for the older fellow, but I decide to watch what happens.  I guess I am just too much of an Aesop personality (a bird in the hand is worth two in the tree).

Two turkeys leave the box.  The old man looks dejected.  I am disappointed he still hasn't pulled the string.  He still has eight turkeys, but you can tell from his expression he is disappointed.  "Pull the stupid string and catch the eight" I yell silently to myself, but he stays steadfast.  He is waiting for two turkeys to return, but in the mean time another four leave. 

He is now down to four turkeys.  He is hopeful some turkeys will return now that it is less crowded.  I am livid with his stupidity!  I am screaming at him, silently, inside myself, to pull the string, but I can tell he is thinking back to his ten turkeys.  In the time he reflects on the ten he had, he now has one as three more left. 

From the expression on his face, I can tell he now just really wants to get one more.  So he patiently stares at that lone turkey, waiting for one more to enter.  I have given up all hope on this guy and start betting inside me head, with myself whether he will get any turkey tonight.  His poor wife must end up making a ton of vegatarian dishes if this is the quality of hunter logic her husband exhibits.  The lone turkey now waddled out, none are left.  The brood of twelve turkeys disappeared into the orchard and were no longer.

The little old man now has no turkeys, instead of the ten he could have had.  He was chasing the twelve and ended up with none.

I try to remember this story when I am investing as sometimes you have to be happy with what you have, instead of chasing that ellusive last penny.

FYI - embellishment note - This is an old parable and did not really happen, but the story is better told in first person

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