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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 are playing this week with Helen Hong, Tom Bodett and Josh Gondelman. And here, again, is your host, pretending his dogs count as an audience, Peter Sagal.


Thank you, Bill. 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.

ELSA ZAMORA: Hi, this is Elsa Zamora calling from the East Village in New York City.

SAGAL: Oh, my gosh, New York City. We haven't had a New York City person call us since all this began. How's it going there?

ZAMORA: It is going, you know? I'm just sitting here sheltered in place, waiting to be able to go outside again freely.

SAGAL: Well, there you are. And what do you do when you're not confined to your home?

ZAMORA: I am an education and sales executive for a global skin care and makeup company. So, obviously, not working right now because I touch people's faces for a living.

SAGAL: On the other hand, we're all doing video meetings and get-togethers all the time. So if there's ever been a time for better makeup, it's here.

ZAMORA: Yeah, you're right. So I should probably start my YouTube channel now (laughter).

SAGAL: Yes, absolutely. As soon as we're finished with the game, get on it. Well, welcome to the show, Elsa. You're going to play our game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Bill, what is Elsa's topic?

KURTIS: It's Tim's Fault.

SAGAL: We all have someone in our lives who's always screwing things up. For most of us, it's Jared Kushner. But for someone this week, it was a guy named Tim. Our panelists are going to tell you about somebody who said it's Tim's fault. Pick the one who's telling the truth, and you'll win our prize - the WAIT WAITer of your choice on your voicemail. You ready to play?

ZAMORA: Yes, I am.

SAGAL: All right. Let's hear first from Tom Bodett.

TOM BODETT: Some people rise to meet difficult circumstances with focus and forbearance. Some make a complete mess of things. And, sometimes, these people live together. Married couple Mirinda Carfrae and Tim O'Donnell face their different approaches to hardship. This week when Carfrae, a former triathlon world champion, was competing with her smart bike in the Ironman Virtual Reality Pro Challenge women's race from her home in Colorado, she was second in the race, which was broadcast live on Facebook, when disaster - also known as Tim - struck.

Her hapless husband, a fellow triathlete, came into the room, tripped over the cable and severed her connection to the race. Carfrae kept pedaling for the rest of the 55-mile stage despite falling off the leaderboard because, you know, focus and forbearance. Afterwards, holding up a sign reading, it's Tim's fault, Carfrae explained what had happened over a video call as her husband stood sheepishly beside her. He decided to bring my trophies in here as motivation, she said. When he walked around the back, he kicked out the plug. The three-times world Ironman champion tried to see the funny side. And when given the chance to defend her man, she responded as any wife would in these difficult times - what an idiot.

SAGAL: A triathlete's attempt at a virtual race is ruined when her husband, Tim, trips and pulls out the power cord. Your next story of Tim-proper behavior comes from Helen Hong.

HELEN HONG: It's Tim's fault, said Jay Hooper (ph), sheepishly, as he stood under a spray of water erupting out of his bathroom pipes and flooding his entire condo complex. The Tim in question is a boisterous 65-pound pit bull mix with a profound obsession with toilet paper. If Tim ever got his paws anywhere near toilet paper, he would grab one end and run it all through the house until there was a giant trail of TP through every single room. Then he would shred it to pieces, reported Mr. Hooper, Tim's owner. Tim is such a sweet, gentle boy, but he had some sort of vendetta against toilet paper. He would go full John Wick on it, and it would take us hours to clean up the massacre.

So the Hoopers bought a stainless steel bathroom cabinet for the sole purpose of keeping their TP safe and secured it with a childproof lock, which promptly jammed three days into their family's self-imposed quarantine. I tried everything, moaned Mr. Hooper. Screwdrivers, a hammer, even a tire iron wouldn't get the thing open. And since toilet paper has become more precious than gold these days, Mr. Hooper saw only one option. He ordered a reciprocating saw on Amazon and power-sawed his way through the stainless steel cabinet and straight through the bathroom wall into the main water line for the building. Luckily, there are only five units in his condo, which made social distancing easier when all his neighbors had to evacuate to let the plumber's in. And in the midst of it, there was Tim, feverishly tearing apart a recently liberated roll of Charmin. Mr. Hooper sighed deeply and said, maybe instead of a power saw, I should've just bought a stack of newspapers.

SAGAL: Tim, a dog, wrecks a house because of his love for toilet paper. Your last story of the trouble with Tim comes from Josh Gondelman.

JOSH GONDELMAN: Excerpted from a profile of actor Armie Hammer in this month's issue of Vanity Fair, Mr. Hammer, who is very tall, led me into his foyer, which was so resplendent with natural light, it felt like no one had ever been sad within a mile of it. At eye level - his, not mine - hung several pieces of art. A small photograph caught my eye. It appeared to be the cast of the film "Call Me By Your Name" - Hammer, Timothee Chalamet and I want to say Richard Jenkins but not him, you know who I mean, along with several others who I assumed were either members of the crew or people who won a contest to meet the film's cast. Everyone in the picture looked red-faced and bleary-eyed. I asked Hammer about it. Oh, it's a funny story, actually, he said. Before we took the cast and crew photo, we shot the last scene of the movie, the one where Timothee is sitting in front of the fireplace, gently weeping. And I don't know whether it was his performance or we were all just hungry, but everyone else started crying, too. You know how when someone pukes, it makes you want to puke? It was like that. So when we took the picture, everyone looked like they'd just been crying because they had. It's Tim's fault. As it turned out, a call to a friend in the film's production office revealed the real story. Mr. Hammer had shown up himself on set with two cases of Italian wine, and he insisted everybody break them open before the shoot was finished. So by the time they got to Tim's final shot, everybody was several Chiantis deep, including Chalamet, which is why he was crying. He was supposed to be looking, wistfully, at the fire, but he couldn't hold it together.

SAGAL: All right. So Tim was blamed, Elsa, but the question is who was Tim and for what? Was it from Tom Bodett, a husband named Tim who tripped over a power cord, costing his triathlete-champion wife a chance to win a virtual race? Was it from Helen Hong, Tim, a dog, who led to the wreckage of a house because he just loved toilet paper too much, or from Josh Gondelman? Was it Timothee Chalamet, the actor blamed falsely and unfairly for a rather hungover cast photo? Which one is the real story?

ZAMORA: I actually heard about this one this week. It is Tom's story about the virtual race.

SAGAL: So you believe it is Tom's story about the virtual race that the woman was kicked out of because the power got cut off?


SAGAL: All right. I'm very excited. We actually have, to bring you the real story, Tim.



TIMOTHY O'DONNELL: I walked around the trainer to kind of show her trophies, and I tripped on the power cord and kicked her out of the race.

SAGAL: That was Timothy O'Donnell. He is, in fact, an Ironman champion himself, and he is absolute world champion at unplugging his wife's bike at the worst time. Congratulations, Elsa. You got it right. Extremely well done. You earned a point for Tom, and you've won our prize - the voice of your choice on your voicemail. Congratulations, Elsa.

ZAMORA: Thank you so much.

SAGAL: Thank you. And stay safe, and don't go nuts.

ZAMORA: I'll try not to.

BODETT: Thanks, Elsa.


SAGAL: Bye-bye.

(SOUNDBITE OF GENE WOOTEN'S "DAY TRIPPER") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.