Bluff The Listener

Sep 29, 2012
Originally published on September 29, 2012 10:07 am
Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

CARL KASELL: From NPR and WBEZ-Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR News quiz. I'm Carl Kasell. We're playing this week with Adam Felber, Brian Babylon and Kyrie O'Connor. And here again is your host, filling in for Peter Sagal, at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Grosz.


Thank you, Carl.


GROSZ: Thank you everybody. So, right now, it is time for us to play the WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME! Bluff the Listener game. Call 1-888-Wait-Wait to play our game on the air. Hi there, you're on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!

ANITA JEERAGE: Hi, this is Anita, calling from Princeton, New Jersey.

GROSZ: Hi, Anita, from Princeton, New Jersey. How's it going in Princeton?

JEERAGE: It's pretty good, thanks.

GROSZ: What do you do there?

JEERAGE: I actually work for a nonprofit based in D.C. We focus on green buildings and sustainability.

GROSZ: Good for you. Do you yourself live in one of these green buildings?

JEERAGE: No, I live in an old house.


GROSZ: Well, you're doing good work I'm sure. It's nice to have you with us, Anita. You're going to play our game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. And Carl, what is her topic?

KASELL: I shouldn't have to tell you.

GROSZ: Don't pull on Superman's cape, don't spit in the wind, and employees must always wash their hands. These are three things that people should not have to be told.

Our panelists are now going to read you three stories of organizations being forced to remind people of what should be patently obvious. Choose the story from this week's news and you will win Carl's voice on your home answering machine or voicemail. Are you ready?


GROSZ: All right, Anita, first up it's Adam Felber.

ADAM FELBER: If you live in the state of Florida, the United States Postal Service has issued a simple request, "in order to ensure the best possible service, please stop crashing your cars into your post offices."


FELBER: Now, if your first thought is that this sort of warning might not be completely necessary, let me repeat one salient detail: Florida.


FELBER: Yes, nearly a third of Sunshine State drivers are over 60 and they've managed to accidentally ram into eight post offices this year in central Florida alone, breaking plate glass windows, careening into lobbies and providing another good reason why the rest of us have switched to email.


FELBER: To combat these unwanted drive-thrus, the Postal Service has issued some helpful tips for its customers, like, quote, "proceed slowly and carefully when pulling in and backing out of parking spots." And, quote, "visibly check to see whether your foot is on the gas pedal or the brake pedal."


FELBER: Sounds like overkill, but it might have helped 89-year-old Phyllis Slaunwhite, who recently left her own stamp on her local post office...


FELBER: ...when she smashed through a window and caused $250,000 worth of damages. Said onlooker, Frank Kubacki, "There you go, another Florida accident."


GROSZ: All right, from Adam Felber, that's the story about reminding people that they should not be driving into their post offices if they can avoid it. Up next, we have a story from Brian Babylon.

BRIAN BABYLON: Organizers of a Star Trek convention in Los Angeles made an announcement before this year's convention. In all caps and in bold print read the sign "No Star Wars costumes allowed."


BABYLON: Trekkie conventions are a place for geeks to lose themselves in their own Starfleet fantasies. From Con to Que, Picard to Kirk, it's time to get beamed up. But it is not time to use the force or Princess Leia or, god forbid, Jar Jar Binks.


BABYLON: "It all started three years ago at the convention in Houston, when a group came dressed up as ewoks and Starfleet uniforms," said attendee Jessica Kimbrow. "You can't have these two worlds collide," said Kimbrow, whose real job is an attorney, but she asked to be called Lieutenant Uhura.


BABYLON: The situation came to a head when a group of Klingons, drunk on bloodwine, got into a brawl with some wookies at the trouble booth.


BABYLON: One Klingon was heard saying, "You can't exist because your galaxy is from a long, long time ago and far, far away."


BABYLON: "So energize yourself out of here."

GROSZ: All right, from Brian Babylon, the sort of Trekkies and I guess Warzies not really trying to be in the same place. And your last story of a reminder that should not need mindering comes from Kyrie O'Connor.

KYRIE O'CONNOR: Betty Lumen of Columbus, Indiana was breaking out a box of sparklers to celebrate the last day of summer, when a three-page list of instructions fell out. Here's what it said, in part, as reported in the Indianapolis Star. Do not light while pumping gasoline. Do not insert lighted units into body cavities.


O'CONNOR: Do not light in presence of gas leak. Do not hand to infant. Do not poke wild animal with lighted unit.


O'CONNOR: Do not stuff lighted into pants.


O'CONNOR: Do not attempt to brand livestock with lighted unit. Do not hold lighted unit near expressed flatulence.


O'CONNOR: Do not light multiple units in a tinder dry forest. Do not use lighted unit as boutonniere.


O'CONNOR: Do not test whether lighted unit can burn public hair.


O'CONNOR: Do not use as replacement pacifier.


O'CONNOR: Do not use as a curling iron. Not for acupuncture. Not tested for shish kabobs. Do not deep fat fry. Do not swallow.


O'CONNOR: If swallowed, do not light in stomach.


O'CONNOR: If swallowed then expelled, do not ruin July 4th for everyone else.


GROSZ: OK, Anita...


GROSZ: All right, Anita, so from Kyrie O'Connor, you have a story about a long list of sparkler instructions that should be very, very obvious. From Brian Babylon, you have a story about Trekkies trying to keep their turf from Star Wars' fans. And from Adam Felber, you have a story about keeping little old ladies from central Florida from driving into the post office. Which one of those do you think is the real story?

JEERAGE: I think it's the Star Wars/Star Trek story.

GROSZ: The Star Wars/Star Trek conflagration from Brian Babylon. OK.

JEERAGE: That's my guess.

GROSZ: That's your guess, great. Now, to find out the correct answer, we spoke with someone who is familiar with the real story.

FRANK CERABINO: Since the beginning of the year, there have been 14 crashes of vehicles into post offices in the state of Florida alone.

GROSZ: That was Frank Cerabino, a columnist for the Palm Beach Post, talking about the rash of people that have been driving into the post office. So I'm sorry, Anita, Adam had the real answer. And you didn't win, but you did earn a point for Brian Babylon...


GROSZ: ...with his story about Trekkies and Star Wars fans.


BABYLON: Live long and prosper. Appreciate it.

GROSZ: Live long and prosper, but do not use the force.


GROSZ: Thank you.

JEERAGE: Thanks.

GROSZ: Thanks so much for playing with us. Bye-bye.


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