Bluff The Listener

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Our panelists tell three stories about a new effort to relieve stress gone terribly wrong, only one of which is true.

CARL KASELL, BYLINE: 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 Tom Bodett, Brian Babylon and Jessi Klein. And here again is your host at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.


Thank you, Carl.


SAGAL: 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 in the air. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT ...DON'T TELL ME.

JOHN KIELHOFER: Hi, this is John Kielhofer from Albuquerque.

SAGAL: Hey, John. How are things in Albuquerque?

KIELHOFER: Oh, just fine and dandy.

SAGAL: I'm glad to hear it. Is it true that Albuquerque got a huge burst of tourism from "Breaking Bad"? Did people show up and say, oh, so where are all the meth dealers?


SAGAL: Really?


KIELHOFER: Do you give them some, like, meth just to make them happy?

KIELHOFER: No, but come to think of it, that might not be a bad idea.

SAGAL: There you go. Always here to help, John. You're going to play our game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction, John. Carl, what is his topic?

KASELL: Let it go.

SAGAL: These are stressful times. It's getting harder and harder to find time to unwind, relax. This week we had a story about a new effort to relieve stress that didn't work out quite so well. Guess the real stress reliever, you'll win Carl's soothing voice on your home voicemail. You ready to play?


SAGAL: First let's hear from Mr. Tom Bodett.

TOM BODETT: When most of us scroll through ways to mellow out with some me time, contact with wild bears isn't our first choice. But that's probably why most of us aren't in charge of reducing the stress of pre-exam college students at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. It takes a special gift to imagine that bringing Boo Boo the bear cub into a classroom filled with fawning, stressed-out young adults would result in anything other than what it did - a panicked and rampaging bear careening through the group clawing and biting and leaving 18 injured and, pointedly, unrelaxed students in its wake.


BODETT: University spokeswoman Susan Killenspree - excuse me, Killenberg McGinn...


BODETT: ...Confirmed the incident on Monday spinning the story into a happy ending with news that the bear, while a natural flesh-mutilating machine, does not pose a rabies threat. No word yet from the marine sciences building on how the pre-finals swim with baby sharks event has gone.


SAGAL: Washington U. tries to relax some students with a baby bear. It does not go well. Your next story of a failed attempt at relaxation comes from Brian Babylon.

BRIAN BABYLON: You've heard the old saying money can't buy happiness. Well, guess what? It can. At least that's Marissa Martinez (ph) told billionaires in Monaco, Aspen, London and Dubai. She duped miserable rich people into forking over tens of thousands of dollars for a secret new procedure called Depeche Mode - like the band, but said faster.


BABYLON: The procedure involved injecting nanotech enzymes into a patient's pituitary gland to produce a constant flow of opiates. The outcome, 24 hours of bliss. Instead of being relaxed, patients woke up from the surgery feeling thirsty and weak. Their doctor and one of their kidneys nowhere to be found. Interpol and the FBI says Dr. Martinez was stealing the kidneys to sell on the black or African-American market.


BABYLON: They've dubbed her the Robin Hood of harvested organs. Nara Garber (ph), currently recovering from a kidney theft, told The New York Times, I should known there was now real thing as Depeche Mode. That's just the band Depeche Mode said real fast with a fake accent.


SAGAL: Depeche Mode.


SAGAL: Depeche Mode...


SAGAL: ...To relieve the 1 percent of 50 percent of their kidneys. Your last story of someone who needs to chill out comes from Jessi Klein.

JESSI KLEIN: A landmark lawsuit was filed in Miami this week by Mark Lewin (ph) and his girlfriend Nora Fleishman (ph). The two had been talking about getting engaged for a few months when Mark bought a ring and booked a romantic trip to a luxury beach resort. Their first activity was a couples massage - an extravagance they'd both been looking forward to.

When the respective massage therapist came out to greet them, they were tickled to learn that the therapist were themselves a married couple - Greg and Misty Jones. Once on their tables, Mark and Nora were excited to relax when Misty somewhat snippily asked Greg why he hadn't remembered to replenish the aromatherapy oils. Maybe because I've been really busy dealing with car insurance after you totaled the Subaru, Greg sniped as he rubbed Mark's feet adding, Mark, tell me if this pressure is OK?


KLEIN: Oh, are you trying to say you can't be responsible because of my driving, Misty huffed as she worked on Nora's neck. Raising his voice, Greg barked, no. I'm saying you need to get off my back. The bickering escalated until Misty finally blurted out she didn't love Greg anymore and wanted a divorce to which Greg responded that was great 'cause he wasn't even sure if he'd ever loved Misty. Misty stormed out but not before reminding Nora to drink plenty of water over the next 24 hours.


KLEIN: Meanwhile, Mark - his face still in the massage cradle - began to tweek out that marriage was a terrible idea and the next morning told Nora he needed more time to figure things out. She probably broke up with him, although the two reconciled two weeks later when they realized they could sue their resort for $300 million in emotional damages.


SAGAL: All right.


SAGAL: So one of these attempts to finally relax went terribly wrong. From Tom Bodett, Washington U, in St. Louis brought in a bear cub to try to relax some students. That did not work. From Brian Babylon, a woman who had a treatment for the very, very wealthy that ended up with them waking up, perhaps relaxed, but also missing a kidney. Or from Jessi Klein how in attempt to enjoy a massage as a couple from a couple went pretty wrong. Which of these is the real story in the week's news?

KIELHOFER: I'd have to go with Tom. It sounds like something really stupid that a school would do.

SAGAL: Right.


SAGAL: Do you have some familiarity with schools?

KIELHOFER: Let's not talk about that.

SAGAL: All right.


SAGAL: So your choice was Tom Bodett's story of the bear cub being brought in to relax and amuse the kids at Wash U. To bring you the real story, here's somebody who was quite familiar with the result.

BILLIE MANDELBAUM: That the bear cub ensued to nip students on the wrist like a teething puppy.

SAGAL: That was Billie Mandelbaum who was a freshman at Washington University in St. Louis talking about the bear cub they brought in to try to relax her and her fellow students. Congratulations, John. You got it right. Well done.


KIELHOFER: Thank you.

SAGAL: You earned a point for Tom.


SAGAL: You've won our prize. Carl Kasell will record the greeting on your answering machine. Thanks so much for playing with us today, John.

KIELHOFER: Thank you.

BODETT: I exaggerated a little.

KIELHOFER: That's OK, Tom.


SAGAL: Thanks for playing, John.


SAGAL: Bye-bye.

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