Bluff The Listener Our panelists tell three stories about American heroes in the week's news.
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Bluff The Listener

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Bluff The Listener

Bluff The Listener

Bluff The Listener

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Our panelists tell three stories about American heroes in the week's news.

CARL KASELL, Host:

From NPR and WBEZ-Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR News quiz. I'm Carl Kasell. We're playing this week with Adam Felber, Alonzo Bodden and Amy Dickinson. And here again is your host, at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.

PETER SAGAL, Host:

Thank you, Carl.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Thank you everybody. 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're on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!.

TRAVIS EDRINGTON: Hi, this is Travis.

SAGAL: Hi Travis, how are you?

EDRINGTON: Good.

SAGAL: Where are you from?

EDRINGTON: I'm originally from Decorah, Iowa, but I just got done spending the summer up in Ashland, Wisconsin.

SAGAL: Oh really, what were you doing there?

EDRINGTON: I was camping and teach swim lessons and life guarding.

SAGAL: Well, welcome to the show.

EDRINGTON: Thank you.

SAGAL: You're going to play the game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Carl, what is Travis' topic?

KASELL: It's a bird. It's a plane. No, wait, it's George from next door.

SAGAL: Heroes don't always wear tights or get profiled by Anderson Cooper. There are everyday heroes, quietly defending what's right, no matter what the cost, never getting the attention they deserve. That changes now for one of them. Our panelists are going to read you three stories from the week's news about an unsung American hero. Guess which story is true, you'll win Carl's voice on your home answering machine. Ready to go?

EDRINGTON: Of course.

SAGAL: All right, first let's hear from Amy Dickinson.

AMY DICKINSON: At first, teachers at Wilson High School in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania thought the rustling sound they heard was just frisky teenagers on the first day of school. But then the janitor discovered the school had a new kid in class, a giant four-pound Norway rat, eating Lunchables in the cafeteria.

The rat was trapped, with the help of the girl's field hockey team, and was on his way to permanent detention, if you know what I mean. But that's when the student chapter of PITA, Pupils to End Teacher Authority, got involved.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

DICKINSON: Armed with flaming batons, borrowed from the Spirit Squad, they liberated the rat. Actually, they kept him and named him Rodney. The ironically named Jonathan Orkin, no relation to the pest control people, led the student protest and also convinced fellow students to make Rodney their official mascot. And so, next week, the Wilson Fighting Rats will take the field, with cheerleaders wearing rat whiskers and naked tails, yelling cheers like: chew 'em, gnaw 'em, toss 'em in a trap.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Says student Jonathan Orkin, rat liberator, quote, "Here's the funny thing, I'm glad I did it. But now that I've spent some time with him, he's actually pretty gross."

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: A rat gets rescued by being made the mascot of the high school where it lived. Your next story of someone leading by example comes from Adam Felber.

ADAM FELBER: The Museum of Waste is a spacious high-beamed seven-room house in Hurl Flats, Florida, with tasteful décor and no exhibits. The house is the museum. And not because of its architecture, but because it is made completely of junk mail.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

FELBER: Eighty-year-old retired contractor, Jose Manuel De Castro, said he got the idea 30 years ago and just began collecting, rather than trashing or recycling the reams of paper that came to his door. By 87, he'd mulched and pressed his first actual plank, and last month finally completed the house.

Quote, "The furniture is mostly made of catalogs," he says, "but the support beams are made of the tougher stuff, like fundraising letters and magazine blow-ins." De Castro says he used only what was brought to his door unsolicited. "That extra stuff that comes with the Sunday 'New York Times' is a bonanza, but my rule was that I could only use the ads, not the news." Though, he confesses, "I sometimes threw in the Metro section. Boy has that gone downhill."

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

FELBER: The Museum of Waste opened last month, but De Castro says business is slow so far. "Maybe I ought to print up brochures," he says.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: The man who converted his junk mail into an entire building. And lastly, let's hear a story of heroism and courage from Alonzo Bodden.

ALONZO BODDEN: Sixty-one-year old refuses to wear speedos. Normally that would be cause for celebration, but not to the Nassau County Lifeguard Commission in Long Island. After four decades as a Nassau County lifeguard, Roy Lester was forced out of his job for not wearing a speedo for his swim test. Quote, "I wore a speedo when I was in my 20s," Lester said, "but come on, there should be a law prohibiting anyone over the age of 50 from wearing a speedo."

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BODDEN: Most would say that law should cover anyone over 30 and over 60 would be a crime even in Europe.

But Lester says that the lifeguard commission is using its principal refusal to smuggle his budgie on public beaches as an excuse to get rid of him and the other older lifeguards. Lester says that what he's wearing around his withered nether parts is irrelevant to his ability to do his job.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BODDEN: Quote, "I could have passed that test in dungarees," unquote. Once the term dungarees was explained to the younger lifeguards...

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BODDEN: They were suitably impressed.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: These are your three choices of a hero somewhere. Was it from Amy Dickinson, the school kid in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania who rescued a rat by electing it its school new mascot? From Adam Felber, a man who took all that junk mail and instead of throwing it away, made a whole museum out of it? Or, from Alonzo Bodden, a lifeguard who refused to wear a speedo at this golden age of 61? Which of these is the man who stood up for what was right?

EDRINGTON: Man. How disturbing it is, as a lifeguard, I think I am going to go with C.

SAGAL: You're going to go with C. You're going to choose the story about the lifeguard who refused to wear the speedo. All right, well we're very excited because we actually have this person on the line. So, if I could ask you please to tell us who you are and what you did?

ROY LESTER: Sure, it's Roy Lester.

SAGAL: Yes.

LESTER: And I was a lifeguard for 40 years at Jones Beach, New York.

SAGAL: Right.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Roy, so you were the guy, of course, who was fired from your job as a lifeguard because you refused to wear a speedo.

LESTER: Yep.

SAGAL: Was it on behalf of the other lifeguards who were forced to wear these things or the people who have to look at you?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

LESTER: The other lifeguards, please.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: And so let me just ask you, right now you're suing to get your job back. Is that right?

LESTER: That's right.

SAGAL: And what are you doing in the meantime?

LESTER: Well, I'm an attorney.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Roy Lester is the man who refused to wear a speedo and is, as far as we are concerned, a real American hero. Mr. Lester, thank you so much for being with us?

LESTER: You're welcome.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: And this, of course, means Travis, that yes, you got it right. Congratulation, you earned a point for Alonzo for telling the truth.

BODDEN: Thank you, Travis.

SAGAL: You've won our prize. Carl Kasell will record the greeting on your home answering machine.

EDRINGTON: Thank you.

SAGAL: Bye-bye.

EDRINGTON: Bye-bye.

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