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 Roxanne Roberts, Peter Grosz and Adam Felber. And here again is your host at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
Thank you, Bill.
SAGAL: Thank you so much. Right now...
SAGAL: ...You know what time it is. It's time for the WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME Bluff the Listener game. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to play our game on the air. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.
BRIAN MELERSKI: Hi. This is Brian from Seattle, Wash.
SAGAL: Hey, how are things in Seattle?
MELERSKI: Pretty good. We actually had a little scare of snow today.
SAGAL: Oh, my gosh.
SAGAL: What do you do there in Seattle?
MELERSKI: I am an elementary music teacher.
SAGAL: Oh, my gosh.
PETER GROSZ: Elementary school music teachers have to listen to the worst quality of music...
SAGAL: That's true.
GROSZ: ...Being played by beginning, young students.
MELERSKI: Recorders are not fun right now.
SAGAL: No, no, no. Well, welcome to the show, Brian. You're going to play our game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Bill, what is Brian's topic?
KURTIS: Indeed, Peter, what is the topic?
SAGAL: Life has so many great questions. Just as we ask if a tree falls in the forest, does it make its sound, our children will one day ask, what is a tree?
SAGAL: This week, one of the great questions actually got answered. Our panel is going to tell you about it. Pick the one who's telling the truth and you'll win the WAIT WAITer of your choice doing your voicemail. Are you ready to play?
MELERSKI: Yes, I am.
SAGAL: All right. First, let's hear from Adam Felber.
ADAM FELBER: Why do fools fall in love? The musical question posed in 1956 by Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers and then again in 1998 in a film starring Halle Barry now has a scientific answer - because love makes you stupid. A landmark study by the UCLA school of neuropathology released last month reveals that falling in love can lower your IQ by as much as 20 points. So for everyone who emerges from a bad breakup asking what was I thinking, well, the scientific answer is you weren't.
FELBER: Lead researcher Dr. Don Calbourne (ph) says that single test subjects were issued a thorough cognitive exam as a baseline and were retested over the following years and that when subjects found themselves in a new relationship, their intellectual abilities plummeted. One subject shown a Picasso portrait initially wrote, quote, "the reductive Cubist approach shows a deep anxiety about the multifarious nature of identity." Two years later, that same man now in a new relationship wrote, quote, "she seems pretty unhappy. I like her."
FELBER: And he misspelled pretty. Dr. Calbourne, who himself has gone through two divorces, says that new lovers showed higher levels of adrenaline, endorphins and other mentally impairing hormones. Quote, "they basically put the dope in dopamine," he said. However, it should be noted that when asked some follow-up question three weeks later, Dr. Calbourne had recently met a wonderful new woman, and he answered, quote, "do you like pancakes? I like pancakes."
SAGAL: Why do fools fall in love? Because love makes you stupid. Your next story of a Q being A'd (ph) comes from Roxanne Roberts.
ROXANNE ROBERTS: It was Freud who first asked and said he had never been able to answer the great question, what does a woman want? Stanford Business School Professor Evan McManus (ph) believes he finally knows. McManus was watching those cheesy Valentine's Day commercials two years ago and decided to find out what women really want based on purchasing data, social media algorithms, advertising research and voting records.
Forget flowers, chocolate and diamonds. According to McManus' findings, which were released Monday, women want 7.3 hours of sleep a night, purple yoga mats but black yoga pants, book clubs if you don't have to read the book, clumpable (ph) kitty litter, Idris Elba, box wine but not in public, more animal emojis, equal pay for equal work, sex but not when they have to get up in five hours and hedgehogs. Wait. Hedgehogs? Why hedgehogs? McManus told The New York Times he has no idea, but hedgehogs top every current metric for female happiness.
ROBERTS: McManus' best guess - I blame Twitter.
SAGAL: ...The question - what do women want - the answer - a whole lot of things and for some reason hedgehogs. Your last story of a question answered comes from Peter Grosz.
GROSZ: Humanity has long grappled with the big questions. What is our purpose? How many roads must a man walk down before you can call him a man? And the biggest question of all - which way do I place the toilet paper on the toilet paper holder? You could go with the end of the roll draped over the top, causing the paper to cascade over the front like a pillow-y (ph) waterfall. Or you can go with the end of the roll tucked discreetly under the roll itself, allowing for a more restrained and modest unfurling. You don't care which way your toilet paper emerges from its cushiony, two-ply cocoon? Pick a side, you coward.
The over-under debate has raged for years. It has led to unmendable rifts betwixt roommates. It has laid waste to marriages and even sparked the bloody Iberian toilet paper wars of the late 1950s, which is why the people at the magazine Choice - a sort of Australian Consumer Reports - decided to settle this vexing issue once and for all. This week, they published an incendiary article featuring a recently discovered patent from 1891 for the original toilet paper roll. It included a detailed 128-year-old pictograph which showed definitive proof of proper paper placement over the top of the roll - over.
GROSZ: Thank you. It was a stunning proclamation. After today, mankind shall never be the same. Brother will no longer fight against brother. Husband and wife shall no longer argue over toilet paper placement and will instead argue about everything else. And most importantly, toilet paper itself can rest easy knowing it shall never again be forced to cower under the oppressive yoke of the roll from which it sprang. It can now launch itself majestically over the top of the roll before being deployed in a pursuit of its septic destiny.
GROSZ: Somebody booed me.
SAGAL: So these are the questions. One of which got answered. Was it from Adam, why do fools fall in love; from Roxanne, what do women want; or from Peter Grosz, should your toilet paper roll go from over the top or come from under the bottom? Which of these is the persistent question that finally got answered?
MELERSKI: I think we'll go with the toilet paper.
SAGAL: All right. You're going to...
SAGAL: ...Go with the toilet paper, Peter's story. All right. You have selected Peter's story of the great discovery of the toilet paper roll orientation. Well, to bring you the correct answer, we spoke to someone familiar with the real story.
DOUG MCCOMBS: The patent clearly shows that the toilet paper is coming over the roll.
SAGAL: That was Doug McCombs, chief curator of the Albany Institute of History and Art talking about toilet paper and the fact that we now know that it comes over the top. Congratulations. You won. Peter got a point, but more to the point, you won our prize - the voice of anyone you may choose on your voicemail. Congratulations, and thank you.
MELERSKI: Thank you.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FRANKLIN'S TOWER")
GRATEFUL DEAD: (Singing) Roll away the dew. Roll away the dew... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.