Bluff The Listener
BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR news quiz. I'm Bill Kurtis. We're playing this week with Roy Blount Jr., Roxanne Roberts and Peter Grosz. And here again is your host, at the Palace Theater at Columbus, Ohio, Peter Sagal.
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
Thank you, Bill. Thanks everybody.
SAGAL: Right now, it is time for the WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME Bluff the Listener game. You need to call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to play our games on the air. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.
SEAN NEARY: Hi, Peter. This is Sean Neary from Kensington, Md.
SAGAL: Kensington, Md. Where is that?
NEARY: Kensington is about three miles from the D.C. line, just outside of D.C.
SAGAL: Oh, I see. And what do you do there - you're part of the permanent government?
NEARY: I am in public relations.
SAGAL: You're in public relations. Do you do, like, crisis public relations to make terrible people seem not so bad?
NEARY: (Laughter) I do all types of public relations, yes.
SAGAL: He was just experimenting. Well, welcome to the show, Sean. You're going to play the game in which you have to tell truth from fiction. Bill, what is Sean's topic?
KURTIS: Well, the topic is youthful indiscretion.
SAGAL: We all make mistakes when we were young and that's how we ended up with tattoos and bad credit and Don Jr.
SAGAL: But this week, we heard a story of someone finally coming to terms with a mistake from long ago. Our panelists are going to tell you about it. Pick the one who's telling the truth - you'll win the voice of your choice on your voicemail. You ready to play?
NEARY: Absolutely, thank you.
SAGAL: First let's hear from Roy Blount.
ROY BLOUNT JR.: This week, Nick Burchill of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, sent a plea for forgiveness to the stately Fairmont Express Hotel in coastal Victoria, British Columbia. Seventeen years ago, Burchill said he was young and immature and therefore he didn't think about what could go wrong with seagulls and pepperoni.
BLOUNT JR.: There was no fridge in his room at the Victoria, so to keep his pepperoni cool, he left his open suitcase full of fresh pepperoni sausages next to an open window. When he returned from a walk on the beach, young Burchill found 30 to 40 seagulls gorging on the redolent sausages. Startled, the birds exploded into a torpedo of excrement, feathers and chunks of pepperoni.
BLOUNT JR.: The damage was so great that Burchill was banned from the Empress forever. But after all these years, the hotel, amused by his story, welcomed him back. He might want to not take another one of those walks on the beach though. Seagulls may live longer than 17 years, and they remember things (imitating seagull call).
BLOUNT JR.: That guy can throw a party.
SAGAL: A man apologizes...
SAGAL: ...For wrecking a hotel room 17 years ago by leaving out a suitcase full of pepperoni near an open window where the seagulls could get to it.
SAGAL: Your next story of someone finally putting the past behind them comes from Roxanne Roberts.
ROXANNE ROBERTS: We all know Bill Gates is the billionaire philanthropist of Microsoft. But none of us knew until last week that a partnership with Steve Jobs was ruined because Gates appeared in an ABBA tribute show.
ROBERTS: In an interview with Wired magazine about the early years of the company, Gates, now 62, revealed that he and Jobs were in talks to merge their two companies in 1978. And he invited the Apple founder to Microsoft's Christmas party that year. As a joke for employees, Gates, co-founder Paul Allen and two other colleagues donned sequined pantsuits and wigs and belted out the hits of the Swedish super group. Quote, "Paul sang Waterloo, but I stole the show with "Take A Chance On Me,"" said Gates. But Jobs was horrified by the performance and told the then 23-year-old Gates that no one would ever, ever take him or Microsoft seriously. Quote, "so for years, I swore everyone to secrecy and hid all the photos from the party," said Gates. Now he's making it up to ABBA. He's apologized and invited the real singers to perform at this year's Microsoft Christmas party.
SAGAL: The great merging of tech titans was aborted because Bill Gates played in an ABBA tribute band. Your last story of someone indiscreting youthfully comes from Peter Grosz.
PETER GROSZ: Back in 1993, 12-year-old Stevie Cooper was at his best friend Todd Aaron's house playing the Nintendo Game Mario Kart when Todd paused the game to use the bathroom. After he left the room, a mischievous Stevie unpaused the game, sending Todd's Luigi careening into a ditch as Stevie guided his Mario to victory. When Todd returned and saw what his friend had done, he threw a tantrum worthy of a kid half his age, kicked Stevie out of his house and never spoke to him again. That was until this week. Cooper, who is now 37 years old and goes by Stephen, is running for state senate near Albany, N.Y., and was enjoying a 20-point lead over his closest primary challenger until a Facebook post from Todd Aaron entitled "Why Stephen Cooper Cannot Be Trusted..."
GROSZ: ...Sent shock waves through the campaign. Aaron's scathing post detailing the 25-year-old Mario Kart episode went viral and was shared across the state Senate district over 50,000 times in 12 hours. The response was swift and overwhelmingly negative. Cooper, whose campaign slogan is honesty and integrity, was being labeled a hypocrite, a cheat and in one hyperbolic post, basically a murderer because he let Luigi die. The whole community was up in arms over Kart gate. Cooper's lead evaporated, Italian-Americans vowed not to vote for him and a plumbers union even pulled their endorsement. Cooper called an emergency press conference in which he said, quote, "I apologize and take full responsibility for what I did to my friend Todd and to Luigi as well. I want to reassure all voters that I will never let New York state fall into a ditch."
SAGAL: All right. An event from the past was made up for this week. Was it from Roy Blount, a man apologizing for trashing a hotel room with seagulls and pepperoni; from Roxanne, Bill Gates ruining a chance to partner with Steve Jobs, way back when, by making a fool of himself playing ABBA songs; or from Peter Grosz, a guy who's cheating at Mario Kart back in the early '90s almost derailed his political bid until he profusely apologized? Which of these is the real story of youthful indiscretions reckoned with in the news?
NEARY: I would have to go with Roy's and the pepperoni and seagulls.
SAGAL: You're going to have to go with Roy's and the pepperoni seagulls.
SAGAL: All right, well you've chosen Roy's story of the man and the pepperoni and the seagulls in the hotel room. Well, we are now going to hear from that very person who came to terms with his own past.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
NICK BURCHILL: I was kind of worried the pepperoni would be warm, so I laid it out on the window ledge in the room. When I came back, the room was full of seagulls.
SAGAL: That was Nick Burchill speaking to the CBC about his pepperoni regrets.
SAGAL: Congratulations, Sean. You earned a point for Roy. You've won our prize - any voice from our show you may like on your voicemail.
NEARY: Wonderful. Thanks so much.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BIGGEST MISTAKE")
ROLLING STONES: (Singing) But I think I've just made the biggest mistake of my life. And I think I just made the biggest mistake of my life.
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