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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
Fri September 7, 2012
Bluff The Listener
Originally published on Sat September 8, 2012 11:24 am
BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ-Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR News quiz. I'm legendary anchorman Bill Kurtis, filling in for Carl Kasell.
KURTIS: We're playing this week with Paula Poundstone, Tom Bodett, and Jessi Klein. And, here again is your host, at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
Thank you, Bill Kurtis.
SAGAL: Right now, even as I speak, it is 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!
STEPHEN SAWOFF: Hi, this is Steve Sawoff in beautiful Nottingham, New Hampshire.
SAGAL: Oh wow, beautiful Nottingham, New Hampshire. Are you the sheriff there?
SAWOFF: Yes, we have an outside next to the house, which I was to call little john.
SAGAL: The guy came ready to play. I admire that.
SAGAL: Welcome to our show. You're going to play our game in which you must tell truth from fiction.
SAWOFF: All right.
SAGAL: Bill, what is Stephen's topic?
KURTIS: If you like it then you better put a ring on it.
SAGAL: When it comes to proposing marriage, these days just getting the words will you marry me up on the Diamond Vision in front of 80,000 football fans ain't going to cut it. This week, our panelists are going to tell you about three stories of people who really pushed that proposal scenario envelope. Guess the real proposal and you'll win Carl Kasell's voice on your home voicemail. Are you ready to play, Stephen?
SAWOFF: I am ready. It has a familiar ring to it.
SAGAL: Ah, ha, ha.
SAGAL: First, let's hear from Tom Bodett.
TOM BODETT: People do crazy, soul-crushing things for their one true love: stop drinking, share desserts, have children.
BODETT: But 30-year-old Alexey Bykov broke the mold for self-destructive love madness by faking his own bloody death, in a professionally staged car crash, replete with stunt drivers and makeup artists, and time so that his dearly beloved, Irina Kolokov, would witness it. Alexey's reasoning - if reasoning came into play at all...
BODETT: ...was that after Irina watched him die and truly experienced what life would be like without him, she would be swept off her feet by his sudden resurrection, followed by a proposal of marriage.
BODETT: As planned, Irina arrived on the wreckage strewn scene to the sight of Alexey's bloodied form in the road. As she collapsed in grief, the dead Alexey became suddenly undead.
BODETT: He rose and moved toward her, arms outstretched, like some kind of flesh-eating zombie.
BODETT: She accepted his proposal without hesitation, knowing, I suppose, once and for all that Alexey truly did love her, not for her body, but for her brains.
SAGAL: The guy who faked his own death in a bloody car crash, just to make his proposal seem that much more welcome. Your next story of a pretty decent proposal comes from Jessi Klein.
JESSI KLEIN: File this under good things don't always come to those who wait. Garret Bauman had been dating his girlfriend Poppy for eight years, when she finally gave him an ultimatum.
Feeling guilty that it had taken him so long to pop the question, Garret planned an ultra-elaborative surprise proposal involving a two-hour balloon ride over her hometown of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, that would end with them being picked up in a horse drawn carriage, which would then take them to a romantic hotel.
Upon arriving at the airfield, they were greeted by their air balloon pilot. Poppy looked at him in disbelief. "Chris, is that you?" It turns out the man who would be operating their balloon was Poppy's high school sweetheart, who she hadn't seen in over a decade.
KLEIN: For the next excruciatingly long two hours.
KLEIN: Chris and Poppy reminisced about increasingly intimate memories from their teenage years, while Garret nervously stared at the scenery below.
KLEIN: As the balloon descended, Poppy grew sad about saying goodbye to Chris, until they figured out that he also worked nights as a valet at the hotel where she and Garret were going to be staying.
KLEIN: By the next morning, Poppy had broken up with Garret. Poppy and Chris published their wedding announcement this week, exactly one year to the day after they reunited. Poppy is now a licensed hot air balloon pilot, while Garret is fat.
SAGAL: A hot air balloon proposal, piloted by just the wrong guy. Your last engaging story comes from Paula Poundstone.
PAULA POUNDSTONE: Cupid didn't just strike Nick Jordon's heart with an arrow; he blew a hole through it. To ask Michelle Davin's hand in marriage, Nick Jordan tunneled into the prison where she was an inmate.
POUNDSTONE: Nick Jordan made Michelle Davin's acquaintance through an online site that lists prison inmates. After a brief postal correspondence, Mr. Jordan began visitation with Davin at the Corel State Women's Prison just outside of Galveston, Texas. "I guess you couldn't say we were going out," says Mr. Jordan.
POUNDSTONE: "Because she really couldn't go any further than the visiting room."
POUNDSTONE: "And even then, there was a wire mesh. But I think that's kind of good, because it tested our love. Anybody can fall in love in a fancy restaurant or in front of Niagara Falls. Michelle looked good through chicken wire."
POUNDSTONE: "I kind of wondered if he was going to ask me to marry him," says Ms. Davin. "But I couldn't have been more blown away when his head popped through the grass in the exercise yard."
POUNDSTONE: "And he said marry me and let me take you away from all this. He's lucky, too, because the groundskeeper had just gone by with the mower."
POUNDSTONE: "Of course, I said yes. I get out in six months; he gets out in four years. But I'll wait."
SAGAL: All righty, here are your choices, Stephen.
SAGAL: One of these is a true story of true love. From Tom Bodett: the man in Russia who faked his own horribly violent death in a car accident, just to make his ultimate proposal seem much more piquant.
From Jessi Klein: a guy who planned an elaborate proposal in a hot air balloon, only to discover that he had booked the trip with his rival.
Or from Paula Poundstone: a guy who was so devoted to his love that he tunneled into her prison to propose in person. Which of these is the real story in the news?
SAWOFF: Well, looking it over, all of them are incredibly bizarre. The hot air - actually I like that one. I didn't dig Paula's story, so I'm going to go with the hot air balloon.
SAGAL: You're going to go with Jessi's story of the hot air balloon. Well, we spoke to a journalist who covered this remarkable proposal.
NEETZAN ZIMMERMAN: A wealthy Russian businessman hired a stuntman, a director, a makeup artist...
SAWOFF: Oh my god.
ZIMMERMAN: ...and a screenwriter to help him fake his own death in order to test his girlfriend's love for him.
SAGAL: That was Neetzan Zimmerman, a senior writer at Gawker, who covered this proposal. And that it true, by the way, she said yes after this. So I'm sorry, as is now obvious, Tom had the real story. But you did earn a point for Jessi for her very sad story of the hot air balloon.
KLEIN: Thank you.
SAGAL: Thanks for playing, Stephen.
SAWOFF: Take care, bye-bye.
POUNDSTONE: Bye, Stephen.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.