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Bluff The Listener

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Our panelists tell three stories about an unusual family reunion, only one of which is true.


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 Jessi Klein, Luke Burbank, and Brian Babylon. 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 on air. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!

DIANE LEE: Hi, this is Diane in Puyallup, Washington.

SAGAL: From where?

LEE: Puyallup, Washington.

SAGAL: Puyallup?

LUKE BURBANK: Where the Puyallup Fair has been for years and years.

LEE: Exactly.

SAGAL: What is Puyallup like?

LEE: Oh, it's fabulous. I love living here. I'm down in the valley, in the lahar zone, so we always have to be on alert for Mount Rainier sliding off.

SAGAL: I have no idea what you're talking about, the lahar zone?

LEE: Yes, I guess the north face of Mount Rainier, right now, they tell us is so brittle that it could just slide off at any moment, and the mud flows would come down the valley and cover my house in about an hour.

SAGAL: Really?

LEE: Yes.

SAGAL: So every day you get up, and you look at the Mount Rainier, a beautiful mountain looming above you, and you say don't kill me today.

LEE: That's right. I hope that the warning sirens go off if it really happens.

SAGAL: That would be good.

BURBANK: You sound really OK with this.


SAGAL: You sound very, very cool about the potential of a horrible, tragic death and a massive catastrophe.

LEE: Well, you know, they say that it happens every 500 to 1,000 years, and we're at 600 years now. So we have a little ways to go.


SAGAL: Hang on.



SAGAL: Every 500 to 1,000 years, and it's 600 years. Well, let's - we'd better hurry, then. Let's get on with the game.


SAGAL: 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 Diane's topic?

KASELL: Reunited, and it don't feel so good.


SAGAL: Every family has a story to tell, and usually it's extremely boring to anyone not in that family. But this week we read about an unusual family reunion, and our panelists are going to tell you about it. Guess the true reunion story and you'll win Carl's voice on your home answering machine or voicemail. Ready to play?

LEE: Yes.

SAGAL: First up, let's hear from Jessi Klein.

JESSI KLEIN: They say what happens in Saudi Arabia stays in Saudi Arabia. Well, actually no one says that, but they especially don't say it now, not after a freak incident that occurred this week in the city of Riyadh. A young racecar driver was performing a high-speed stunt in a residential neighborhood when he lost control of his car and smashed through the wall of a house.

This would be nothing more than a random accident except for the fact that he had actually slammed into his father's house. And that would be nothing more than a coincidence except for the fact that he didn't know it was his father's house because, unbeknownst to the driver or his mother, this is where his father was secretly living with his secret second family. You know, as you do.


KLEIN: Well, the father went to the hospital to be treated for minor injuries, the son fled the scene on foot. Although there are no confirmed reports of his whereabouts, it can be assumed that he is at his therapist's office being treated for everything.


SAGAL: A racecar driver in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, accidentally drives his car through a wall and meets his father's second family. Your next story of a reunion that's pretty unusual comes from Brian Babylon.

BRIAN BABYLON: LeMarcus Washington(ph) is an ad executive living in Maryland. He's single, doesn't have any pets, and he's as white as Lena Dunham or anyone else on HBO.


BABYLON: But people don't know that. My first name is French. It comes from my great-great-great-grandfather. In French it means the Marcus.



BABYLON: LeMarcus and his parents, Shaniqua(ph) and Darnell(ph), are fed up with...


BABYLON: Are fed up with feeling like they're the only white family left in the entire U.S. with the last name of Washington. So they put out a series of ads all over the East Coast hoping to track down the remaining white Washingtons for a family reunion. It shouldn't be so hard, Washington told the Baltimore Sun. We're descendents of the original old white guy.

But it was hard. They posted flyers at Whole Foods, Lululemons and bought ad space in Cat Fancy magazine.


BABYLON: Eventually the Washingtons gave up. If they couldn't have a family reunion, they could at least have a support group for other misfits. There's Jerry Cumberbash(ph), the only black kid on his polo team. There's Saul Goldberg(ph), a young Mormon missionary who keeps getting propositioned from elderly Jewish ladies with single daughters. And then there's old Bing Google, a 96-year-old grandfather who doesn't understand why he keeps getting cease and desist letters.



SAGAL: A white family named Washington desperately tries to find other white Washingtons and fails. Your last story of an unlikely family reunion comes from Luke Burbank.

BURBANK: Josh and Sara Scofield(ph) of Menominee, Wisconsin, and their two kids were heartbroken when they realized the family's beloved cat, a tabby named Lil' Pill(ph), had disappeared during a road trip to Milwaukee, where they were heading to enjoy the Summerfest Festival.

We'd stopped at a rest stop off of I-94 to let her out to stretch her legs, and she just took off, said Sara. She never even looked back. The family searched for hours and left flyers behind but eventually had to head back home. We didn't even get to see Rush play their concert at Summerfest, said Josh.

Anyway, imagine their surprise four months later when who should come strolling down the quiet street of their cul-de-sac, none other than Lil' Pill herself. We all started crying right then and there, the whole family, said Sara. It was the stuff local TV news reports and Animal Planet movies are made of, with one problem.

Well, we were crying, says Sara, but Lil didn't seem to care. In fact, she kind of acted like we were getting on her nerves or something. She just walked past us and headed right to our neighbors' house, the Hokensons. These days Lil has settled into a new routine in the Hokenson home, lying in the sunbeam and running away from her former family when they approach.

It turns out she did want to make an incredible journey, just not back to the house where the family that loved her lived.


SAGAL: A cat that comes back on a journey of many hundreds of miles just to move in with the family next door, who she prefers, that was from of course Luke Burbank. From Jessi Klein you heard the story of a guy who drove his car into another house to discover his father's other family. And from Brian Babylon, a white guy named Washington who desperately tries to find other white guys named Washington. Which is the real story of family togetherness in this week's news?

LEE: It's a tough one, but I'm going to say the guy who drove his car into a house.

SAGAL: All right, you're going to pick Jessi's story of the guy who drove his car into a house and discovered his father with his father's second family.

LEE: Yes.

SAGAL: Well, to bring you the correct answer, we spoke to someone familiar with the real story.

JESSICA ROY: I think injuring your father as you're finding out that he also has another wife that you didn't know about is probably one of the more (unintelligible)...


SAGAL: That was Jessica Roy, she's the newsfeed editor for Time.com that picked up the story of the sudden discovery in Riyadh from a local Arabic paper. Congratulations, you got it right, Diane.

LEE: Oh, thank you so much.

SAGAL: You've earned a point for Jessi just for telling a story well, and you have in fact won Carl's voice on your outgoing voicemail.

LEE: Oh great, thank you. Thank you.

SAGAL: Congratulations.


(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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