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Bluff The Listener


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 game on the air.

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

RICHARD STAR: Hi. This is Richie (ph) from Montreal, Quebec.

SAGAL: Hey, Richie. How are things in Montreal?

STAR: Oh, great. Pretty cool, but getting better.

SAGAL: I've got to ask you, are you Canadians feeling pretty smug about us Americans right now?


STAR: Yeah. I actually just had a big surgery, and I left without paying a cent, so...




SAGAL: Lord it over us.

STAR: (Laughter) I will.

SAGAL: Well, Richard, it's...


SAGAL: Are you sure you're from Canada?


SAGAL: Richard, it's nice to have you with us. You're going to play the game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Bill, what is Richard's topic?

BILL KURTIS: And mom of the year goes to mom.

SAGAL: Being a mom is a lot of work. Kids don't realize how hard it is just to get your helicopter parenting license.


SAGAL: But this week, we read about a mom who went above and beyond. Our panelists are going to tell you about it. Pick the real one, and you'll win our prize - the WAIT WAITer of your choice on your voicemail. Are you ready to play?

STAR: Yeah, I'm ready.

SAGAL: First, let's hear from Mo Rocca.

MO ROCCA: If only she could have held her baby inside her for another two days. An anonymous British mother of a 4-year-old took to the website Mumsnet to explain her parental plight. Her son was born on December 26, also known as Boxing Day - a bank holiday and, worse yet, a date that can never compete with a day that comes before it. (Imitating British accent) On his last birthday, he really misbehaved due to being bored, having had far too many presents on Christmas Day, let alone more on his birthday. I felt sad for him as we couldn't make it special.

But wait - she's not done complaining. (Imitating British accent) The weather this past December 26 was rubbish, so we wouldn't even go out for a nice walk or play in the garden. Her proposal - change her son's birthday to December 28 - a day known for good weather, right? Everything...


ROCCA: Everything would be open again, so we could go to lunch, McDonalds - whatever he wants to do. But one user was quick to shoot her down. (Imitating British accent) His birthday is the 26th. It's crap, but it is what it is. Pretending it's a different day will be confusing when he's older. Not to mention it's simply lying to him, so you don't feel guilty.


SAGAL: A British mother tries to change her son's birthday so it's not Boxing Day. Your next story of a mother who went that little extra distance comes from Faith Salie.

SALIE: Like many children, Delphine Babineau (ph) of Versailles loves the ballet. She also loves happy endings, which is why her very thoughtful, very rich mother, Anais Archambault (ph), decided that for Delphine's 6th birthday party, she'd take her daughter and 12 friends to see "Swan Lake" at the Paris Opera Ballet.

But first, Archambault needed to change the entire ending of "Swan Lake." Those familiar with Tchaikovsky's famous ballet know that in act four, the cursed princess swan, Odette, and her devastated lover, Siegfried, fling themselves into the lake to die together. It's not clear how a bird who swims can drown itself, but that's beside the point.


SALIE: Archambault, being the world's greatest mama, did not want her daughter to witness a double suicide on her birthday, so she paid the Paris Opera Ballet to re-choreograph the denouement. It took two weeks of rehearsal and a 2.5-million-euro donation to the Paris Opera to have the entire company throw out the choreography of Rudolf Nureyev and replace it with a dance to delight Delphine and her friends. For the finale, Odette and Siegfried jump into the lake and then emerge as two glittery unicorns...


SALIE: ...Flying through the air while 6-year-old girls threw macarons at them.


SAGAL: A French mother...


SAGAL: ...Pays the Paris Opera Ballet to change the ending of "Swan Lake" into something more cheerful. Your last story of a mother doing what mothers do best comes from Demi Adejuyigbe.

DEMI ADEJUYIGBE: There's no substitute for a mother's love. But if you're looking for a substitute for a mother's child, why not try a mother? Recently, a woman in Wales was discovered to have been going to great lengths to help her son in school by attending school in disguise and taking his tests for him.


ADEJUYIGBE: She claimed the scheme started as one science project but continued when Jimmy B. (ph) said he was going to have a bounce house at his birthday because no way was she missing that. The school released a statement upon learning of the ruse, saying they're disheartened by the lengths the woman has gone to stunt her child's education. They were also surprised that a grown woman could ever disguise herself as a little boy - a truly shocking way to reveal Welsh people don't yet know about Bart Simpson.


ADEJUYIGBE: Fellow students weren't as convinced by the disguise, though. They knew something was up when she was the only student who could correct the gym teacher's sex ed lesson.


ADEJUYIGBE: The school was set to call the mother into the principal's office for punishment until she was bailed out by a very small woman wearing pearls and a pair of heels that were way too large for her clearly pubescent feet.


ADEJUYIGBE: The woman promised that she would deliver a swift punishment for the child herself, telling the child, (imitating child) no more Julianna Margulies movies for a whole month.


SAGAL: All right...


SAGAL: ...Richie. One of these stories about a very protective mother is true. Is it, from Mo Rocca, the British woman who actually wants to change her child's birthday because Boxing Day is just no fun; from Faith Salie, a French mom who actually paid the ballet to make "Swan Lake" more upbeat; or, from Demi, a Welsh mother who attended school in disguise to take her son's tests? Which of these is the real story of a mother going the extra distance?

STAR: I think it's the first one. And even if it's wrong, I want Mo to get the point. So...




SAGAL: Many people have fallen under his spell. I cannot blame you.


SAGAL: All right. Well, you've chosen Mo's story of the British mother concerned with her son's birthday. Here's someone who knows a little bit about the real story.


JESSICA CHIVERS: Wanting to change her son's birthday is impossible. Pick another day to celebrate and have two birthdays.

SAGAL: That was coaching psychologist and parenting expert Jessica Chivers explaining that you can't, in fact, change your kid's birthday. You can just pretend it's another day. Congratulations, Richard. You got it right.


SAGAL: You earned a point for Mo, and you've won our prize - the voice of your choice on your voicemail. Congratulations. You did great.

STAR: Thanks a lot, guys.

SAGAL: Now we have to play "O Canada," so everybody hang with us.


SAGAL: Thank you so much for playing, Richie.

STAR: Thanks, guys. Have a good day.

SAGAL: Bye-bye.

(SOUNDBITE OF THE BEATLES' "BIRTHDAY REMASTERED 2009") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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