Bluff The Listener Our panelists read three stories defining the unusual term "octopushy" only one of which is true.
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Bluff The Listener

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Bluff The Listener

Bluff The Listener

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BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR news quiz. I'm Bill Kurtis, and here is your host at the Chase Bank Auditorium in Chicago, Peter Sagal.

PETER SAGAL, HOST:

Thank you, Bill.

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Thank you, everybody. In October, we went to Salt Lake City to record our 1,000th show. And if you do 1,000, well, of course, you have to do 1,001. So on the second night, Bill Kurtis and I joined with panelists Adam Burke, Amy Dickinson and Bobcat Goldthwait to try to fool the audience in our bluff game. And then we had a remarkable visit with Salt Lake City's own Alex Boye, the only former member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to become a YouTube star. Here it is.

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're on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

JESS: Oh, my goodness. It's really happening. Hi.

SAGAL: It is. It's happening.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: It's happening now. Who's this?

JESS: Hi. This is Jess (ph) from Salt Lake City, Utah.

SAGAL: Salt Lake City...

(CHEERING)

SAGAL: ...Utah. You're, like - how far away from the Eccles Theater are you right now?

JESS: I'm, like, a mile away. My father-in-law's in town. He doesn't listen.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Wait a minute.

BOBCAT GOLDTHWAIT: You're a mile away, and we're talking to you.

(LAUGHTER)

GOLDTHWAIT: Yeah. At first, I thought it was going to be one of those - the call is coming from inside the house.

SAGAL: I know.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: It's the lady in the front row with the cell phone.

GOLDTHWAIT: You're so close.

SAGAL: Just come on by. We'll wait.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Well, welcome to the show. Now, Jess, you're going to play our game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. What is Jess' topic, Bill?

KURTIS: They call me Octopushy (ph).

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: This week in the news, we learned a new word, and that word is Octopush. And no, it doesn't mean a doula for octopuses.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Our panelists are going to tell you what it does mean. Only one of them, though, is telling the truth. Pick that one, and you'll win our prize - the WAIT WAIT-er of your choice on your voicemail. You ready to play?

JESS: I'm ready.

SAGAL: All right. First, let's hear from Adam Burke.

ADAM BURKE: Tiffany Fleet (ph) of Plano, Texas, has always hated October. It's not a seasonal affective disorder thing, she explains. It's just the fact of October - the pumpkin spice and Halloween decorations going up right after Labor Day. October's just this big, lame reminder that summer is over, and the end of the year is rushing toward you. Fleet soon located like-minded thinkers online and earlier this year founded Octopush, a grassroots movement aimed at shunting the dreaded 10th month to later in the year.

(LAUGHTER)

BURKE: The plan is to add six days to both August and September and make October shorter and later, explained Fleet. The idea seems to be gathering steam. A recent change.org petition espousing the Octopush agenda garnered 120,000 signatures. Dr. Jordan Lowery (ph), an Octopusher (ph) from Sacramento, sees a scientific rationale for the shift. Global warming is causing havoc with the traditional abscission and foliage change in trees, so realigning October to reflect that isn't a bad idea, he explained. Plus, remember that Pope Gregory changed the calendar by 10 days in 1582, and he didn't even have a website.

(LAUGHTER)

BURKE: While Fleet acknowledges the new arrangement will take some getting used to, particularly for people born in the latter part of the month...

(LAUGHTER)

BURKE: She adds, if it means an extra two weeks of me not hearing the "Monster Mash" in a CVS, it'll be worth it.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: A movement...

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: ...To push October back so we don't have to deal with it quite so soon. Your next story of what Octopush might mean comes from Amy Dickinson.

AMY DICKINSON: It's pretty obvious by now that all human endeavor will eventually become an Olympic sport. You know, sword fighting became fencing, and now...

(LAUGHTER)

DICKINSON: ...Sinking to the bottom of the pool might become the newest and weirdest sport hoping to compete at the Olympics. This new sport is called Octopush, and next month, it will make its debut at the Southeast Asia Games. Octopush is a form of hockey that's played underwater at the bottom of a swimming pool. The game was developed...

(LAUGHTER)

DICKINSON: ...By the British Royal Marines for underwater training in the 1950s. And it's called Octopush because the name Near Drowning was already taken.

(LAUGHTER)

DICKINSON: The entire game featuring swimmers and a weighted puck happens underwater. The players wear speedos and have little, tiny hockey sticks.

(LAUGHTER)

DICKINSON: They and their referees surface every few seconds to gulp air. I'd explain the scoring system to Octopush, but no one cares.

(LAUGHTER)

DICKINSON: I'll tell you how spectators can watch Octopush, but they really can't.

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: A version of hockey played at the bottom of a pool while holding your breath. Your last Octopusher - well, that's Bobcat Goldthwait.

GOLDTHWAIT: For decades, in the small Swedish town of Gothenburg (ph), giant, mysterious wooden spatulas have been unearthed and have flummoxed the community over their purpose. Thought to possibly be an ancient farming tool, the town's folks would paint the spatulas with bright, festive colors and use them to decorate their gardens, often hanging them in their own homes.

It wasn't until recently, when archaeologist Lars Dahlberg (ph) found an ancient parchment in a nearby cave, that the real use of the spatulas was discovered. The large tool, dubbed the Octopush by Dahlberg, is believed to have played a main role in the ancient Nordic practice of Antisoopa (ph). Antisoopa is when the elders of the clan threw themselves off cliffs in order not to be a burden to their families or the tribe.

(LAUGHTER)

GOLDTHWAIT: Lars said, I guess, sometimes, the elders would have second thoughts about hurling themselves from the great abyss...

(LAUGHTER)

GOLDTHWAIT: ...And would start to run back.

DICKINSON: Oh, no (laughter).

GOLDTHWAIT: Then the Octopush was used to swat them off the cliff...

(LAUGHTER)

GOLDTHWAIT: ...Like large, geriatric houseflies. Dahlberg said he believes the Octopush was also used at the bottom of the cliff to help clean up afterwards.

(LAUGHTER)

GOLDTHWAIT: People in Gothenburg have removed the Octopushes from their homes and gardens. Elsa Blacklun (ph), a townswoman, declared, it's really a terrible shame because an ornately decorated Octopush really made my den come alive.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: All right. So, Jess...

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: ...There is a thing - this much we can tell you - called Octopush. Is it, from Adam Burke, a movement to push October back in the year so we can have a little bit more time before we deal with it; from Amy Dickinson, a weird but real sport played with a hockey puck at the bottom of a pool while holding your breath; or, from Bobcat Goldthwait, an ancient Nordic implement used as a spatula to push reticent senior citizens off of cliffs?

(LAUGHTER)

JESS: I'm going to go with A.

SAGAL: You're going to go with A. You're going to go with Adam's story.

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: The audience here likes it. You're going to choose Adam's story about the people who want to push October back because wouldn't it be nice if we didn't have to deal with it?

JESS: Yes.

SAGAL: All right. Well, to bring you the real story, we spoke to someone involved in it.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MIKE HILTON: Underwater hockey is played normally in 7- to 10-feet-deep pools. And this next year in Tokyo, they're considering underwater hockey to be an Olympic sport.

SAGAL: That was Mike Hilton. He is the director of the 2019 USA Underwater Hockey Nationals. In other words, he plays Octopush.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: So I'm so sorry. You didn't get it right. However, you earned a point for Adam and maybe helped start a movement...

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: ...Which I, for one, will support. And I'm sorry you didn't win. But hey, you know, we're going to be here for another hour. Run on down. One of us will record your voicemail, I promise you.

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Thank you so much.

JESS: Thank you.

SAGAL: Take care.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "KEEP ON PUSHING")

THE IMPRESSIONS: (Singing) Keep on pushing. I've got to keep on pushing. I can't stop now.

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