Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
9:00 am
Sat December 31, 2011

Diagnose Carl

Transcript

CARL KASELL, HOST:

From NPR and WBEZ-Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME, the NPR News quiz. I'm Carl Kasell, and here's your host, at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami, Florida, Peter Sagal.

PETER SAGAL, HOST:

Thank you, Carl.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Thank you everybody. Thanks everybody. We got a great show for you today. Dave Barry, the funniest man in Florida, will be here later to play our games. But this week on our show, though, we're going to try something different. Our show, for once, is actually going to be good for you.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: It is. It's all about health, physical and mental health. But like all health products, our show is required to come with a warning.

KASELL: Use as directed and consult your doctor before listening; if you find yourself experiencing drowsiness, sleepiness, or general malaise, you may have been listening to public radio.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: So please, refrain from operating heavy machinery. Give us a call. The number is 1-888-Wait-Wait, that's 1-888-924-8924. It's time to welcome our first listener contestant. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME.

LAURA: Hi, this is Laura calling from Acton, Massachusetts.

SAGAL: What do you do there in Acton?

LAURA: I'm, actually, as of this morning, I'm a freshly re-employed computer programmer.

SAGAL: There you go.

PETER GROSZ: Congratulations.

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KYRIE O'CONNOR: Wow.

SAGAL: Good for you.

TOM BODETT: Well done.

SAGAL: What's the new gig? What do you care; it's a job, right?

LAURA: Darn right.

SAGAL: Yeah. Well welcome, Laura, to the show. Let me introduce you to our panel this week. First up, an alum of Second City and The Colbert Report, Mr. Peter Grosz is here.

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LAURA: Hi, Peter.

GROSZ: Hi, Laura.

SAGAL: Next, a blogger and a deputy editor over at the Houston Chronicle, Ms. Kyrie O'Connor.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

LAURA: Hi, Kyrie.

O'CONNOR: Hi, Laura.

SAGAL: Finally, it's author and humorist, Mr. Tom Bodett.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

LAURA: Yay, Tom.

BODETT: Hi, Laura.

LAURA: Hi.

SAGAL: Well Laura, it's great to have you. We have asked you here to play a new game that we are calling?

KASELL: I shall call this new disease Acute Carlitosis.

SAGAL: As our society has progressed over the years, we've conquered many diseases. For example, when's the last time you heard of someone suffering from Gladiator's Elbow?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: But with new advances come new ailments. Carl is going to describe the symptoms of some very real new illnesses and syndromes we found in the news or in the medical literature. Your job: guess the cause. Do that two times out of three; you'll win our prize, Carl's voice on your home answering machine. Ready to do this?

LAURA: I'm ready to try.

SAGAL: All right. So, imagine if you will, Carl going to his doctor. And he goes in and he describes the following symptoms.

KASELL: Doctor, I have this sensation people are constantly trying to get in touch with me, even though no one is. And I feel an ever-present tingling in my pants.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

KASELL: Not that tingling, not that tingling, a different one. It even happens in airplane mode.

SAGAL: Carl was describing a malady afflicting people who use what a lot?

LAURA: Cell phones.

SAGAL: That's right.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: It's called, and again, this is real, it's called Phantom Vibration Syndrome.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: As one neurologist put it, quote, "If you use your cell phone a lot, it becomes part of you." Pretty soon, you and your phone are finishing each other's sentences.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: You're dressing alike; you both wear grooved rubber sleeves.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: And then, what happens is you start thinking that your cell phone is vibrating when it isn't. You're constantly grabbing at your pants and pockets when there's no need to do so.

GROSZ: It follows you too. It follows, like, around your body, where you move your cell phone.

SAGAL: Yeah.

GROSZ: 'Cause I had that happen to me a lot. It was always in my left front pocket. And then I switched it to my right front pocket. And then all of the sudden, it was in my right front pocket.

SAGAL: So you would, like, imagine the...

GROSZ: Oh yeah.

SAGAL: So this is something you guys are familiar with?

GROSZ: Yeah. And then it was both, because then my body was like, "it could be in either pocket, man, you don't know."

SAGAL: Yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

GROSZ: I have a syndrome where I feel like I'm important.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

GROSZ: Yeah, that when my phone actually rings I think that it's important and not like a sales call or my wife telling me to pick up milk.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Or nobody at all, that's the problem. I mean nobody is actually calling or texting us and we think they are.

BODETT: Yeah. No, if you want somebody to call you, walk into the men's room at an airport.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BODETT: That will make your phone ring.

SAGAL: Really?

BODETT: Uh-huh.

O'CONNOR: You know, that never works for me.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BODETT: You're doing it wrong.

SAGAL: All right, Carl, what's your next problem?

KASELL: Doctor, some days I feel like a "Real Housewife of Beverly Hills." Some days I feel like a "Bachelor." Other days, I feel like an "Ice Road Trucker." What's wrong with me?

SAGAL: Here Carl might be suffering from a syndrome where patient's lives begin to imitate what?

LAURA: Reality TV.

SAGAL: Yes, indeed.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: The crazed, over the top, rage, dram and lust that we see in reality TV, you know, shows like "Jersey Shore", "Real Housewives", C-SPAN.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: That has apparently become the new normal. Behavioral psychologists have noted that people who watch a lot of reality TV feel disappointed if their reality isn't as exciting or depraved, so they start upping the ante. I mean, you feel like a failure if your night out with friends doesn't end with either a fistfight, jail or you passed out pantless in a gutter.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: WWJD now means "What Would J-Wow Do."

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

GROSZ: A lot more people naming their stomachs also.

SAGAL: Yes. Like the "Situation."

BODETT: What is that from?

GROSZ: The Situation is that fellow on the "Jersey Shore." He's got a real situation going on in his midsection, so he dubbed it "The Situation."

BODETT: Oh boy, I'm so gratefully ignorant that...

SAGAL: He's muscular and imaginative in that regard.

GROSZ: Yeah.

SAGAL: Do you have a name for your abdomen?

GROSZ: Me?

SAGAL: Yes.

GROSZ: Yeah, Charles.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

GROSZ: I'm more formal though, never Charlie, never Charlie.

SAGAL: No, no, no, no.

BODETT: That's so dignified.

GROSZ: I must address it in the formal manner, especially when I spill chili on it.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Carl, any more complaints?

KASELL: Doctor, I've done it on a stool; I've done it on a chair. I've done it on a couch; I've done it on a loveseat. I once even did it on a horse. Now you're telling me I have to stop?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: I don't know what you're thinking, but it turns out something very common that Carl started doing as a very young man is bad for him. In fact, it's bad for all of us. What is it?

LAURA: I don't watch enough TV.

SAGAL: Clearly not. It has nothing to do with TV. It's a physical thing that people do all day, usually in their offices.

LAURA: Breathing?

SAGAL: No, sometimes...

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Breathing is terrible for you. Stop. No, that's actually almost as bad. The problem is, and the reason people have noticed this is now in the early 21st century, humans are doing this more than ever, what with all the things there are to do it in front of, computers, TVs.

LAURA: Sitting.

SAGAL: Yes.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

GROSZ: Yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

O'CONNOR: Yay.

BODETT: Well I didn't get that either, Laura.

SAGAL: It's so obvious. And you're doing it. You're sitting yourself to an early grave, Tom.

BODETT: I thought it was slouching.

SAGAL: No, it's sitting. You know, everybody knew that sitting is bad for you because it means when you're sitting, you're not going out and exercising, fine. But new studies show that even if you exercise an hour a day, sitting down for six to eight hours the rest of the day still is going to kill you. Our chairs hate us and want us dead.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Finally to be free of the weighty oppressors. It's something to do with the bad effect complete muscular relaxation has on our physical systems. But in the meantime, there's actually treatment for this. You'll be happy to know the good people at GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer have joined forces for Standagra.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Ask your doctor if you're healthy enough for standing.

O'CONNOR: What happens if you stand for more than four hours?

SAGAL: Then somebody stole your chair.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Carl, how did Laura do on our quiz?

KASELL: Laura, you had three correct answers, so that means you win our prize. Congratulations.

LAURA: Hoorah.

SAGAL: Well done.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Thank you so much for playing, Laura.

LAURA: Thank you.

SAGAL: Bye-bye.

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

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