Bonus: Paul Meehl’s impromptu remarks about the Seven Sacred Cows, and revelation of his personal sacred cow.
Realizing he probably would never finish this book, Meehl had begun to consider a shorter piece outlining the basic idea—“Short Cows” as we came to call it. By late 2001, macular degeneration had made reading and writing impossible. One day I suggested he try dictating the “Short Cows” paper he had long talked about. Captured from that dictation, here are his initial (to set the stage) and then closing remarks to Val, his transcriber. (The outline itself was slow, incomplete, and has been deleted). To explain his struggle to remember “file, file, file!” at the very end: Over the years Paul had been nudged through upgrades in technology, from Dictabelts to cassettes to a digital recorder. The concept of a computer file was still new to him, but obviously he was catching on. —Leslie J. Yonce-Meehl