PETER SAGAL, HOST:
Coming up, it's Lightning Fill In The Blank. But first, it's the game or you have to listen for the rhyme. If you'd like to play on air, call or leave a message at 1-888-WAIT-WAIT. That's 1-888-924-8924. Or click the contact us link on our website, waitwait.npr.org. There you can find out about attending our weekly live shows back at the Chase Bank Auditorium in Chicago and our upcoming show March 12 at the beautiful Fox Theater in Atlanta, Ga. And if you want more WAIT WAIT in your week, check out the WAIT WAIT quiz for your smart speaker. It's out every Wednesday with me and Bill asking you questions all the comfort of your home or wherever you have your smart speaker. It's just like this radio show, only now, we can hear you.
Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.
MONICA MCCLELLAND: Hi.
SAGAL: Hi. Who's this?
MCCLELLAND: This is Monica from Des Moines.
SAGAL: Oh, my gosh, Monica in Des Moines.
SAGAL: What do you do here in this fabulous Midwestern capital?
MCCLELLAND: I am a job coach for a local nonprofit.
SAGAL: Oh, really? So you're coaching people on how to do their job or how to get a job?
MCCLELLAND: How to maintain employment. I work with people that have been - some employment (unintelligible). And I help them keep those jobs.
SAGAL: Well, that's good. So what kind of - like, if I wanted to keep this job, for example, what advice might you give me?
MCCLELLAND: Get along with your employer, get along with your coworkers.
SAGAL: All right, something else.
SAGAL: Well, Monica, welcome to our show. You know what's going to happen. Bill Kurtis is going to read you three news-related limericks with the last word or phrase missing from each. If you can fill in that last word or phrase correctly in two of the limericks, you'll be a winner. Ready to play?
MCCLELLAND: You bet.
SAGAL: All right, here's your first limerick.
BILL KURTIS: Over every new tech, we are lords. So why is it that everyone hoards? We're awaiting the hour our tape decks need power. We all have a box of old...
SAGAL: Yes, cords.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: The Wall Street Journal reported...
SAGAL: ...That more and more Americans keep a box of useless, old cords in their homes, you know, wires and chargers for gadgets that are utterly useless now - VCRs, PalmPilots, the iPhone you bought three months ago.
SAGAL: Look; we get what you think you might need those someday again. But why is your umbilical cord still in there?
SAGAL: Experts say people believe that the moment they throw the cords away, they'll need them, while others hang onto their cords in case they'll fit into them again one day.
PAULA POUNDSTONE: (Laughter) I have five VCRs.
POUNDSTONE: I bought them recently.
SAGAL: I can understand why you should have one because people have a library of tapes they might...
POUNDSTONE: I do. I have a library of tapes.
POUNDSTONE: But the thing is - no, I have hundreds of videotapes. And so I have to have more than one VCR because that VCR is going to break some day.
SAGAL: Right. And then where are you?
POUNDSTONE: But, you know, I'm - you know, by some definition, middle-aged...
POUNDSTONE: ...And I think five VCRs should keep me.
SAGAL: All right.
SAGAL: Monica, here is your next limerick.
KURTIS: We can't love each single life stage, and the bad ones are easy to gauge. Forty-seven-point-two is when we feel most blue. That's when people hit peak middle...
SAGAL: Yes, middle age.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: According to new research from Dartmouth, people who are just a few months past their 47th birthday - precisely 47.2 years old - are likely experiencing the very worst moment of their lives. The study drew conclusions by charting a, quote, "happiness curve" over time and finding the lowest point is. Also a, quote, "happiness curve" is what normal people call a smile.
SAGAL: So the research shows in people a decrease in happiness starting at age 18, and it goes steadily sloping downwards to 47.2, at which point they say people start to feel better. Well, of course you do, because that's when you start to forget things.
SAGAL: What's really weird is that the age is so specific. It's not, like, your late 40s. It's 47.2. You can do the math - figure it out. Sorry, honey, I can't go to your work thing on Tuesday. That's going to be the worst day of my life.
MO ROCCA: Monica, are you passed your 47.2?
MCCLELLAND: Oh, no. I don't know if I should say.
NEGIN FARSAD: That's a yes.
ROCCA: She's, like, about to turn 47.2 while she's waiting for us to stop talking.
SAGAL: Wouldn't it be terrible if this was her day?
ROCCA: Yes. (Laughter).
POUNDSTONE: We're just piling on.
SAGAL: I remember when I was on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME. It was literally the worst day of my life.
SAGAL: All right, Monica, you do have one more limerick. Here is your last limerick.
KURTIS: My dumb cab never comes up to greet me. He just glares at my chair to unseat me. And if I should die, not long would I lie, for that jerk would just come up and...
MCCLELLAND: Eat me.
SAGAL: Eat me, yes.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: Cats, it turns out, really do love people - for dinner. We've suspected this for years, just because cats are evil. But researchers figured out an ingenious way to test this theory. They fed the cats human corpses. Seriously - no, this is what they do. There's this research lab at Mesa University in Colorado. It's quite well-known. They have this walled garden where they put out bodies that have been donated. And then they do studies of how bodies decompose and various other things like that. And some cats got into the garden, and they're like, buffet.
POUNDSTONE: This isn't a (expletive) story.
POUNDSTONE: I've had 16 cats at one time.
FARSAD: And that's why you don't have a foot.
FARSAD: They're just nibbling away.
SAGAL: When you...
ROCCA: The fancy feast of Paula's foot.
POUNDSTONE: No, they never - you know, every now and then, Theo will give me a little love bite. That's all.
SAGAL: Oh, really?
SAGAL: It wasn't a love bite, Paula. He was testing to see if you were ripe.
ROCCA: He was doing a taste test there. I have to say, I would have loved the movie "Cats" so much more if Judi Dench had eaten someone at the end.
SAGAL: Bill, how did Monica do on our quiz?
KURTIS: Monica got a perfect score.
SAGAL: Congratulations. Thank you so much for playing.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WHAT'S NEW PUSSYCAT?")
TOM JONES: (Singing) What's new, pussycat? Whoa, oh, whoa. What's new, pussycat? Whoa, oh, whoa. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.