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Bluff The Listener

BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR news quiz. I'm Bill Kurtis. We're playing this week with Paula Poundstone, Tom Bodett and Faith Salie. And here again is your host at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.


Thank you, Bill.


SAGAL: Right now, it's time for the WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME Bluff the Listener game. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to play our games on the air.

Hi, you are on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

AMY FLUETTER: Hi. My name's Amy. I'm calling from Suwanee, Ga.

SAGAL: Suwanee, Ga. - OK. That's great. And what do you do there?

FLUETTER: I'm an emergency room nurse and a mother of four.

SAGAL: Oh, my gosh.


SAGAL: Did you find being an ER nurse is helpful in mothering with the scrapes and the bruises and the severed...

FLUETTER: Well, my poor children have to walk around with scrapes and bruises all the time. One kid walked around with appendicitis for three days before I finally sent him to the ER, you know.


SAGAL: Really?

FLUETTER: So - yes.

SAGAL: Really? Because you're, like - they're, come on, mom. I have a stomachache. And you're, like, I've seen worse. I saw somebody in...


FLUETTER: Yeah, absolutely. You're fine. You're fine.


SAGAL: Amy, welcome to the show. You're going to play our game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Bill, what is Amy's topic?

KURTIS: Pickles to the rescue.

SAGAL: Some problems can only be solved by a pickle. Most problems alcohol fixes but not all. This week, we read a story of someone figuratively in a pickle and getting out of it with an actual pickle. Our panelists are going to tell you about it. Pick the one who's telling the truth, and you'll win the WAIT WAIT-er of your choice on your voicemail. Are you ready to play?

FLUETTER: Absolutely.

SAGAL: All right. First, let's hear from Paula Poundstone.

PAULA POUNDSTONE: After years of being the last rider over the finish line atop a racehorse ironically named Last Word (ph), Alexander Fauvel (ph) was on the verge of never riding Last Word again when he stopped by to visit the horse while eating a pickle and discovered that the horse had an extreme reaction to the pickle. Fauvel got an idea. He mounted the horse, took him out to the track and showed him the pickle. Last Word took off like a rocket. We've been winning ever since, said Fauvel. We get on that inside rail, I squeeze the reins in my right hand and the pickle in my left. Then I reach my pickle hand in front of his muzzle, and it's equine magic.


POUNDSTONE: To date, no other horse has reacted to pickles the way Last Word does. Undaunted, in training sessions, desperate jockeys wave any vegetable they can think of...


POUNDSTONE: ...In their horse's face looking for a burst of speed - eggplants, tubers, Brussels sprouts. So far, nothing. Some horses actually back up when they see kale.


SAGAL: The secret to a horse's speed is a pickle. That's from Paula. Your next bit of pickle prose comes from Faith Salie.

FAITH SALIE: Estelle Schmidt (ph) of Hagelsdorf, Luxembourg, always feared flying. Nothing could get her on a plane except her love for her great-grandfather, Marcel Muller (ph). When Marcel died, all of Hagelsdorf mourned him because, for as long as anyone could remember, he had provided the village's most pungent pickles. On his deathbed, he summoned 24-year-old Estelle and asked her to fly to Gibraltar to scatter his ashes. Then he bequeathed her his most beloved pickle. According to legend, this pickle marinates in a brine made with water in which Jesus washed his feet.


SALIE: Since Marcel's death, Estelle has carried this pickle constantly. She strokes it by day and returns it to its cloudy water by night to re-brine. She knew...


SALIE: ...That the only way she could fly to Gibraltar was if she were clutching Marcel's pickle in her lap. But passengers on the small plane rioted over its noxious smell, so the Luxair flight attendant wrenched the green stink bomb from Estelle's hands and put it in the aircraft's mini fridge. Even after being reunited with the pickle upon landing, Estelle sued the airline for mental anguish. This week, the European Court of Justice heard the case. After witnessing Estelle's attachment to what one justice called the holy cucumber, the five judges ruled unanimously in her favor, legally naming it an emotional support pickle.


SALIE: Estelle funneled her grateful tears into the jar of juice declaring, I honor this cornichon with the salt of my joy.


SAGAL: An emotional support pickle. Your last story of someone hurting for a gherkin...


SAGAL: ...Comes from Tom Bodett

TOM BODETT: When a Perth, Australia, man, through great fault of his own, managed to glue his own butt to a six-foot wooden bar counter last Friday night...


BODETT: ...He did what any of us would do. He sat there.


BODETT: Then he posted his predicament on Reddit, which has saved so many lives.


BODETT: So I'm kind of sitting here with a slab of jarrah attached to my butt cheeks watching "Battlestar Galactica" and waiting for the emergency services to return my call. After realizing the only chemicals he owned capable of divorcing his cheeks from his board were tucked away in the garage through a door he couldn't fit through, he turned back to his Reddit feed to find 300 comments, one more useless than the next, until one jumped out at him. OMG - what a pickle. Yes, cried Perth's sticky butt man. He'd read somewhere on the Google that the vinegar in pickle juice will break down an epoxy bond, and he had a jar of gherkins within his reach. One episode of "Battlestar Galactica" later, the Perth pickle butt posted that he was free. Saturday morning, the man reported feeling a little tenderness but not much pain. If anything, my butt feels thoroughly exfoliated.


BODETT: All right. Here are your choices, Amy. From Paula Poundstone, the horse that would only run faster - could win races but only with the incentive of a pickle. Faith, a woman makes an emotional journey only with the help of an emotional support pickle. And from Tom Bodett, a man who had accidentally super-glued his own butt to a countertop escaping by using the miracle of pickle juice. Which of these is the real story about a pickle coming to the rescue?

FLUETTER: I am going to have to go with the pickle butt.

SAGAL: All right then. Your choice is Tom's story about the man in Australia who glued his butt to his countertop. To find out the correct answer, we spoke to a reporter covering the real story.


UNIDENTIFIED JOURNALIST: Some bloke in Perth glued himself to a table...


UNIDENTIFIED JOURNALIST: ...When he was fully naked. And he just used his pickle juice, and he dabs it around his naked butt.

SAGAL: That was a reporter from the Bell Tower Times in Perth, Australia, talking about his home improvement project gone wrong. You were right in the end because Tom...


SAGAL: ...Told the true story of the heroic uses of pickle. Congratulations. You've earned a point for him. And you have won our prize - the voice of anyone you may choose telling your children to just calm down - it's nothing.


SAGAL: Congratulations, and thanks so much for playing.

BODETT: Thanks, Amy.

FLUETTER: Thank you.

SAGAL: Bye-bye.



LIONEL RICHIE: (Singing) Stuck on you - been a fool too long, I guess it's time for me to come on home. Guess I'm on my way... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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