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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 Maeve Higgins, Tom Bodett and Helen Hong. And here again is your host at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.

PETER SAGAL, HOST:

Thank you, Bill.

(CHEERING)

SAGAL: Thanks, everybody. Thank you all so much. Right now, it is 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 are on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

JEFF MITCHELL: Hey, Peter. This is Jeff Mitchell (ph) calling in from Boston, Mass.

SAGAL: Hey.

(CHEERING)

SAGAL: Now, I've spent a lot of time in Boston, and I know a lot of people who say they're from Boston are actually from someplace lame like Needham.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: So are you from Boston Boston?

MITCHELL: Just outside Wakefield.

SAGAL: Oh, you see?

(LAUGHTER)

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

KURTIS: I retire.

SAGAL: Ah, retirement - when decades of work is rewarded with decades of boredom. This week, we heard about somebody retiring from a really remarkable career. Our panelists are going to tell you about it. Pick the one who's telling the truth, you'll win our prize - the WAIT WAITer of your choice on your voicemail. Ready to play?

MITCHELL: I'm ready.

SAGAL: First, let's hear from Helen Hong.

HELEN HONG: A Canadian school district is grappling with what to do about a recently retired longtime school cafeteria cook. Elsa Bennett (ph), the beloved cook, was praised for decades for her friendly rapport with her middle schoolers as well as her super cheesy mac and cheese. The school itself was widely known to have the most well-behaved, easygoing and unusually calm student body. Well, it turns out Ms. Bennett's secret ingredient was weed.

(LAUGHTER)

HONG: You know how wild kids are that age, said Ms. Bennett while taking a long pull off of a giant blunt.

(LAUGHTER)

HONG: So one day, I put a little hash and CBD mix in my super cheesy mac and cheese. And what do you know? The kids calmed down. So I did it again the next day and again the next. Apparently, Ms. Bennett had been getting her middle schoolers blazed for years. When asked how she could afford to keep 200 kids high as a kite on a weekly basis for decades, she revealed that this had been an open secret amongst many parents, who donated to her so-called chill charity.

(LAUGHTER)

HONG: Although recreational marijuana is legal in Canada, getting children faded is not. Since most of the parents in the district have refused to press charges, Ms. Bennett may avoid punishment. When asked why she was admitting to any of this after the fact, Ms. Bennett responded, I'm sorry. Were you talking?

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Cafeteria lady retires after decades...

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: ...Of dosing the kids with ganja. Your next story of a retirement comes from Tom Bodett.

TOM BODETT: While the duke and duchess of Sussex Meg-xit (ph) drama is getting all the attention, little notice is being given the exit of another lesser known but crucial member of the royal family. The U.S. government has its tradition of designated survivor, a lone acting cabinet member who is randomly chosen to rule the country in the event the entire government is rubbed out or quits.

(LAUGHTER)

BODETT: England has an older equivalent in their royal repository of the blood of sovereignty. Established after the English civil wars in the mid-17th century, the monarchy ruled in secret that in the event the entire royal lineage is destroyed - looking at you, Ireland...

(LAUGHTER)

BODETT: ...The, quote, "third male cousin of the nephew of the viscount of Shropshire, so far as can be known to be not a scoundrel nor a Frenchman, shall hold the title..."

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: "...Of royal repository of the blood of sovereignty and ascend to the throne of England in the event we've otherwise all been smote" - close quote. Next to the lock screen code for Prince Andrew's iPhone, the identity of the royal rep of the B is the most closely guarded secret in the kingdom. No one but the queen knew about it. So QE2's very bad week got worse when shoe seller Gary Thomas (ph) of Picklescott on the bog in Shropshire, England...

(LAUGHTER)

BODETT: ...Revealed this week he was the royal last resort...

(LAUGHTER)

BODETT: And he was retiring. My undoing, Thomas said in an appalling British accent, was I fell in love with Laura Paddy (ph), an Irish girl. As I was about to propose marriage, I shared my secret with her. I can still hear what she said in reply.

MAEVE HIGGINS: (Unintelligible) Suppository. I ain't shagging no bloomin' (ph) prince

(LAUGHTER)

BODETT: Like Harry and Meghan, Gary Thomas gave up status for love. He's selling his successful bog shoe franchise and moving to County Cork in the Republic of Ireland, where he and Ms. Paddy intend to set up a T-shirt printing business. It is not yet clear who the next royal vassal might be, but there is buzz around a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy in Devonshire.

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Last repository of the royal blood of monarchs retires from that job. Your last story of somebody finally getting their gold watch comes from Maeve Higgins.

HIGGINS: The famous Diego is about to retire. We're talking here about Diego the giant tortoise from the Galapagos, one of 15 tortoises is in a captive breeding program meant to revive the species on the island of Santa Cruz. There's a lot of confusion about the differences between turtles and tortoises, so here's an easy way to tell them apart. Turtles live in New York City sewers, and...

(LAUGHTER)

HIGGINS: They speak English, and they also do karate quite well.

(LAUGHTER)

HIGGINS: Tortoises, on the other hand, live above the ground, and they're extremely sensual.

(LAUGHTER)

HIGGINS: Diego is over 100 years old, and the job he's retiring from is having sex...

(LAUGHTER)

HIGGINS: ...So much sex that he's credited with helping save his species from extinction. When the program began 55 years ago, there were only 14 tortoises left, 12 females and two males. Imagine if they had been lesbians.

(LAUGHTER)

HIGGINS: Then Diego joined the conservation program from his home in San Diego and got busy. Paternity tests indicate that Diego is responsible for about 40% of the tortoise babies born. But that wasn't even the record. James P. Gibbs, a Syracuse professor of environmental and forest biology, said another more reserved, less charismatic male, E5...

(LAUGHTER)

HIGGINS: ...Has generated the other 60%. The phrase it's always the quiet ones is now being changed to it's the quiet ones around 60% of the time.

(LAUGHTER)

HIGGINS: You could say E5 came out of his shell, but that's not physiologically accurate.

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: So, before I asked Jeff which one he wants - tor-toys (ph)?

(LAUGHTER)

KURTIS: It's the English.

SAGAL: Is that how the Irish say the word tortoise?

HIGGINS: Oh.

KURTIS: It's really...

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Hold on. Now, because I'm curious...

HIGGINS: I could absolutely be wrong.

SAGAL: It's possible, then, that you just...

HIGGINS: Bill, do you think I...

KURTIS: I've run into it in narrations and was corrected many times, so...

SAGAL: Really? OK.

HONG: Oh, so they do say tor-toys?

KURTIS: Yeah, we say tor-tuses (ph).

HIGGINS: Now that I think of it, I don't think I've ever heard it out loud. Like, I just saw it, and...

(LAUGHTER)

HIGGINS: They're such quiet creatures.

SAGAL: They are.

HIGGINS: They never correct you.

SAGAL: That's true.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: All right. Now that we've got that settled...

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Jeff, here are your choices. From Helen, a cafeteria lady in Canada retires after decades of dosing the kids to keep them happy; from Tom Bodett, the very secret royal - the royal repository of the blood of the monarchy - retires from the job that nobody knew he had; or from Maeve, Diego the fecund tor-toys...

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: ...A Galapagos tortoise that retired after a long life of having lots of babies. Which of these is the real story of a retirement we found in the news?

MITCHELL: I think the tor-toys has it.

SAGAL: Really? Yeah.

(APPLAUSE)

HIGGINS: Thank you, sir.

SAGAL: You have chosen the story of Diego the tor-toys.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: To bring you the correct answer, we spoke to someone familiar with the real retiree.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ARTURO IZURIETA: Diego's ability to procreate produced...

(CHEERING)

IZURIETA: ...Over 800 hatchlings for the...

HONG: Wow.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

IZURIETA: ...Recuperation of the species.

SAGAL: That was Arturo Izurieta, the executive director for the Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands, talking, of course, about Diego the tor-toys.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: So congratulations, Jeff. You got it right. You've earned a point for Maeve for telling the truth.

HIGGINS: Thank you.

SAGAL: You've also won our prize - the voice of anyone you may choose...

(APPLAUSE)

MITCHELL: Thank you, guys.

SAGAL: Thank you so much.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LET'S GET IT ON")

MARVIN GAYE: (Singing) Let's get it on. Ah, baby, let's get it on. Let's love, baby. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.


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