Bluff The Listener

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Our panelists tell three stories about people who are bad at their jobs.

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


KASELL: Thank you, Carl. Thank you, everybody.



Right now, it's time for the WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME! Bluff the listener game. To play any of our games, give us a call at 1-888-WAIT-WAIT. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!

MIKE CROWE: Hi Peter, it's Mike in Clover, South Carolina.

SAGAL: Hey, Mike, how are you?

CROWE: I'm doing great. How are you?

SAGAL: I'm fine. What do you do there in Clover? I've never been there.

CROWE: I'm a senior software architect for ZipIt Wireless in Greenville, South Carolina.

SAGAL: So you're a software architect. You're building things but only notional things.

CROWE: Well, I dream them up, yeah.

SAGAL: Yeah, that's important. And what do you do for fun there?

CROWE: A lot of things. I like - I'm a nerd so, you know, anything with computers is always fun.



SAGAL: Knock me over with a feather, a nerd. Well, it's nice to have you with us. You're going to play our game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Carl, what is Mike's topic?

KASELL: Step into my office, baby.


SAGAL: Here at NPR, it's performance review time which, as any office worker knows, can be pretty scary, especially if you are the worst employee in the entire world. This week our panelists are going to read you three news stories about people who are terrible at their jobs. Guess the real story, and you'll win Carl's voice on your home-answering machine or voicemail. Ready to play?


SAGAL: All right. First up, let's hear from Alonzo Bodden.

ALONZO BODDEN: Sometimes those who can't do really do teach. The worst swim instructor in Philadelphia can't swim. Ludwig Jones(ph) got a job as a child swim instructor at Rolling Acres, a small country club. The problem is Ludwig can't swim. The man is 6'7" tall and would walk on the bottom of the pool while faking the arm strokes of a swimmer.


BODDEN: He was found out when he almost drowned after accidentally walking into the deep end of the pool.


ADAM FELBER: The lifeguards thought he was clowning around, since they knew Ludwig was a swim instructor, but when his screams move from yelling for a friend to screams of panic, they knew something was wrong. It was an easy rescue, said lifeguard Jim Wilson(ph). The hardest part was for us to stop laughing while pulling him out of the pool.


BODDEN: Now how does this happen, one might ask, a swim instructor who can't swim. We asked Ludwig's supervisor Arthur Aimes(ph). Well, said Mr. Aimes, Ludwig was really popular with the kids. He was here every day helping the kids swim. And they loved him. So we bypassed the normal swim test and just hired him.


BODDEN: When word got out Ludwig couldn't swim, Mr. Aimes himself got written up along with Ludwig. Now unable to fire Ludwig due to his seniority, the only thing Mr. Aimes can do is give Ludwig scores of one across the board on his annual review and assign Ludwig duties like blowing up pool inflatables and cleaning the kiddie pool every night.



SAGAL: A swim instructor who can't swim himself. Your next story of a problem employee comes from Neko Case.

NEKO CASE: Scottsdale, Arizona. Plastic surgeon Dr. Michael Pope(ph) is facing three malpractice suits for accidentally injecting three people, one woman and two men, with an enzyme called cardolazium(ph), which is a sulfite extract that is made from shrimp feces.


CASE: The plaintiffs were in the office of Dr. Pope for standard Botox injections when the error occurred. Mr. Alan Greer(ph), one of the three plaintiffs, was rushed to an emergency room in the nearby suburb of Chandler, Arizona, when he went into a state of allergic anaphylaxis. It turns out the anaphylaxis was not from the shellfish toxin but from an allergy to cat dander because the man had gone home after his injection, and he had fallen asleep on his couch, at which time his neighbor's cats came into his apartment and licked him all around the mouth.



SAGAL: A plastic surgeon who injected his patients with shrimp feces rather than Botox. Your last story of an employee needing some extra training comes from Adam Felber.

FELBER: The shortest distance between two points may be a straight line, but navigators on the high seas know they have to account for wind patterns and currents and something that experts call land.


FELBER: Someone should have offered this helpful tip to Polish freighter captain Thaddeus Dudek before he charted a course from Scotland to Belgium whilst overlooking one little detail commonly known as England.


FELBER: Yes, one very short journey later, and the good ship Danio promptly ran aground at the Farne Island Nature Reserve in Northumberland. But it's not just Captain Dudek's fault. Investigators say he was using an unapproved GPS and had actually created a course with just two positions, Scotland and Belgium.

Also, he'd forgotten to turn on the bridge's alarm system. Also, the first mate who had supposedly been on watch was asleep, could have happened to anyone. Asked about the sleeping first mate, Captain Dudek said it is what he told in his statement, and it looks like is true. And how about that alarm, Captain? Might that have helped? Quote, "Yes, but I forgot. For sure this would not happen if alarm had been used."


CASE: And Vladimir Putin was on the boat?



CASE: That's his problem right here.

SAGAL: Neko, I know you're used to, like, the big music industry budgets, but this is public radio. We can only afford one accent.


SAGAL: All right, so let me recap. Here you go. One of these employees was very bad. Was it, from Alonzo Bodden, a swim instructor who it turns out could not swim and got busted when he fell into the deep end? From Neko Case, a plastic surgeon who used shrimp feces instead of Botox for his patients? Or from Adam Felber, a Polish ship captain who tried to go from Scotland to Belgium right through England and did not get very far? Which of these was the real unsuccessful employee in the week's news?

CROWE: Oh man.

SAGAL: Yeah.

CROWE: I think I'm going to go with the ship captain.

SAGAL: Is that your choice then, the ship captain?

CROWE: Yeah?


SAGAL: All right. Your choice, then, is Adam's story of the Polish ship captain who forgot about England being in his way. Well, we bring you this special news bulletin covering this case.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Using the wrong navigation gear doesn't explain why no one on the ship steered it away from the rocks, just a short distance from a huge, flashing lighthouse.


SAGAL: That was a report from BBC's "Inside Out," on the ship captain who forgot about England right in his way. Congratulations, Mike, you got it right. Adam was telling the truth. So you earn a point for Adam, and you in fact do win Carl's voice on your home voicemail.

CROWE: Thank you.

SAGAL: Well done.


SAGAL: Mike, thank you so much for playing.

CROWE: Thank you, Peter.

SAGAL: Bye-bye.

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