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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're playing this week with Mo Rocca, Adam Burke and Negin Farsad. And you can spread your cream cheese on whatever you want. I'm spreading mine on a Sagal, Peter Sagal.


NEGIN FARSAD: (Laughter).


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

INDIRA RANGANATHAN: Hi, this is Indira from Tarrytown.

SAGAL: Oh, I know Tarrytown 'cause I used to travel across the Tappan Zee Bridge back when it was a death trap. What do you do up there?

RANGANATHAN: I do anti-bias work, and I'm a voice actor.

SAGAL: How very cool. Couple of questions. What sort of things do you do?

RANGANATHAN: So if you've ever been to a Pandora jewelry conference as a salesperson, you might have heard me (laughter). I've done Olay, Pandora jewelry. I've done MGM Resorts. I'm basically naming every audition and job I've ever gotten because they're very few and far between.

SAGAL: That's how it is, sadly, in the performing arts.

RANGANATHAN: Yes (laughter).

SAGAL: Well, it's nice to have you with us, Indira. You're going to play our game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Bill, what's Indira's topic?

KURTIS: I Retire.

SAGAL: Retirement, when you can kick back and never again have to talk to your ungrateful producers who frankly, you have been carrying on your back for years, though they will never admit it. Oh, I'm sorry. Anyway, this week we read about someone who is really enjoying the retirement lifestyle. Our panelists are going to tell you about it. Pick the one who's telling the truth - the WAIT WAITer of your choice on your voicemail. You ready to play?

RANGANATHAN: Yes, can't wait.

SAGAL: All right. Well, you don't have to, 'cause we'll start with Adam Burke.

ADAM BURKE: On paper, Simon Drayton (ph) is a typical retiree. He likes to get up early, is in bed around 8 pm and spends his day with a mixture of easygoing activities - "Murder, She Wrote" reruns on TV, a game of Pinnacle with his fellow residents, maybe a round of bingo before supper. All pretty normal, except for the fact that Drayton is 26 years old...

FARSAD: (Laughter).

BURKE: ...And still a full-time employee of a brand management firm in Manhattan. Drayton is just one of a number of Gen Z individuals who are members of the Early Sunset Retirement Group, a sort of baby boomer cosplay society operating in...

FARSAD: (Laughter).

BURKE: ...Brooklyn, N.Y., that gathers at a special facility to emulate the retirement utopia of their grandparents. One member, 23-year-old Sonal Khan (ph), says the best part is playing mahjong with the other fogeys...


BURKE: ...At Early Sunset. It can get immersive, explains Early Sunset founder Josh Dutton (ph). You'll get these perfectly healthy 20-year-olds complaining about fictitious aches and maladies. It's a bit like a LARP, he said, using an abbreviation for live-action role play or, he adds, LAARP.

SAGAL: Twenty-somethings in Brooklyn pretending to be retirees and really enjoying it. Your next story of someone enjoying their retirement comes from Negin Farsad.

FARSAD: Cheryl and Edward Patton of Hamburg, N.Y., were mystified. They couldn't figure out who was throwing used coffee cups on their front yard. And it didn't just happen once or twice. It happened nearly every day for three years. The Pattons started collecting the offending coffee cups as evidence and actually installed cameras to try to catch the coffee cup perp. But he was good at flinging and evading the cameras. So a bunch of neighbors joined forces, setting up elaborate stakeouts until they finally got a license plate number.

The cops eventually managed to catch him in the act. And it turns out the coffee cups were being tossed by 76-year-old Larry Pope. Apparently, Larry and Cheryl were co-workers before their golden years. And on the job, Larry made it a practice to be constantly annoyed with her. He held on to that annoyance well after his retirement and right into his late 70s, like any healthy person would.

Some retirees like to travel or garden. But Larry spent three precious years of his retirement acting out a minor vendetta against an old co-worker via coffee cups. At the end of the day, Larry's impressive because he's really broadening the scope of #retirement goals.

SAGAL: A man who decided to spend three years of his retirement taking petty vengeance on an old co-worker he did not like. Your last story of a relaxing retiree comes from Mo Rocca.

MO ROCCA: When Louisa Henry (ph) was a young woman just starting at the Dexter shoe factory in Lawrence, Mass., her life was filled with promise, her cheeks the color of rose tips, her lips like red apples. With her delicate fingers, she attached the shoes eyelets. Her fiance, the strapping Buck Jordan...

BURKE: (Laughter).

ROCCA: ...Cut the tongues for the shoes. Oh, Louisa was happy. But soon Buck went mad from arsenic poisoning and drowned himself in the Merrimack River. The factory closed. And Louisa, in her despair, turned to the only other work she knew, crafting artificial flowers from wax and wire for Lawrence's ladies of fashion to wear. But, eventually, she went blind and the Convent of St. Leo's...

FARSAD: (Laughter).

ROCCA: ...Gave her a room in the basement, which is where Louisa discovered her retirement passion. She feels around for dust bunnies, which she shapes into holiday toys. I turn dust bunnies into toy bunnies, blind old Louisa says meekly.

FARSAD: (Laughter).

ROCCA: Each Christmas, the people of Lawrence, a goodly people, line up...

BURKE: (Laughter).

ROCCA: ...To buy these clumps of dust from Louisa. Everyone plays along, even the people with severe allergies.


ROCCA: Because Louisa has had a very hard life. And she deserves to believe that her clumps look like bunnies.


SAGAL: All right, Indira. We read about one of these retirees. From Adam Burke, a 20-something who's not really retired but is enjoying it now anyway at retirement camp in Brooklyn; from Negin, a man who has spent his retirement throwing coffee cups for three years into the yard of an old co-worker; or from Mo, the Dickensian tale...


SAGAL: ...Of the lady from Lawrence, Mass., who spends her golden years making bunnies out of dust bunnies. Which of these is the real story of retirement we found?

RANGANATHAN: I feel like it's Adam's, but I'm going to go with Mo just 'cause I want it to be Mo's, and I know it's not.

SAGAL: You're going to go with Mo. All right.

BURKE: (Laughter).

SAGAL: I admire that. I absolutely admire that. To bring you the correct answer, we spoke to someone involved in this real retirement.

EDWARD PATTON: About three years ago, we began to see a steady procession of cups, one a day. And it would appear it was somebody with an issue with my family.


SAGAL: That was Ed Patton, the man who was on the receiving end of the avalanche of cups that came over his fence once per night for three years. You may even have known this, but Negin had the real answer. Mo, however, in addition...

FARSAD: (Laughter).

SAGAL: ...I think to touching us deeply in our hearts lied. And of course, you gave him a point.

ROCCA: Indira, I'm going to send you a wax-and-wire flower.


SAGAL: Indira, thank you so much for playing with us. It's a delight to talk to you. We'll listen for you the next time we hear somebody going on about Oil of Olay.

RANGANATHAN: Great. Thank you so much. Thank you so much.

ROCCA: Bye, Indira.

SAGAL: Bye-bye.



FARSAD: Bye, Indira.

(SOUNDBITE OF ANNA KENDRICK'S "CUPS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.