Here’s Your Chance to Win Five Easy Dollars. I’m Not Joking. Maybe.

19 Aug

by Roger White

It’s that time again, kids! No, not International Slinky Races Day, as exciting as that is. It’s time once again to play Spot the True Story. I know, I know, NPR Radio has its version of this shtick, but I’ve been doing it for 31 years now, so if anyone has a case against anybody, it’s me. Against them. About this. But I love NPR, and only lawyers win when you sue, and who needs wealthier lawyers? Not me, pal. Which reminds me of a joke:

Q: What do you call it when you have 100 lawyers buried up to their necks in cement?  A: Not enough cement.

God, I love that joke. Anyway, those of you who are faithful followers of my weekly epistles know that every 20 years, rain or shine, I present Spot the True Story. How it works is this: I give you, dear reader, three news reports from around the globe. However, only one of them is—you guessed it—true. Your job is to determine which one. First one to e-mail me the correct answer at rogdude@mail.com wins five real U.S. dollars. No kidding. Second place wins three bucks; third place, one genuine American dollar. Fourth through sixth place wins a nifty fridge magnet of my choosing; seventh through ninth earns a hearty “Thanks for Playing Our Stupid Game!!!!!” from yours truly. Taxes on winnings are sole responsibility of individual winners. Void where prohibited. Prohibit where voided. Violators will be prosecuted. Prosecutors will be etc. etc.

If you don’t want to play this time around, worry not. You’ll get another opportunity in August of 2031. So here goes. Spot the True Story:

1. Researchers in New Hampshire have apparently discovered a duck-billed platypus that displays a unique ability to detect exaggerated campaign promises by presidential candidates. Working in his Concord lab, wildlife biologist Myron Glunden and his team observed that a female platypus named Gigi, when shown videotapes of every successful presidential candidate’s speech since the Kennedy Administration, nods slowly and issues a soft snort when a promise later confirmed to be kept is spoken by a presidential hopeful. However, when a promise later verified to be either exaggerated or completely false is delivered by a candidate, Gigi lays an egg and flaps her tail vigorously until exhausted.

Glunden reported, for example, that when Gigi watched George H. W. Bush’s “read my lips—no new taxes” promise, she produced 13 eggs and had to be sedated after severely spraining her tail.

This, of course, explains why you’ve never seen a duck-billed platypus anywhere near a political campaign bus.

2. Researchers in Germany are reporting that dogs can “smell” cancer. That’s right, a report from Stuttgart claims that canines are able to whiff the organic compounds linked to cancer in humans. The report’s author, Enole Boedeker, claims that two German shepherds, an Australian shepherd, and a Labrador retriever were trained to signal when they smelled the presence of cancer in lab samples.

Specifically, the dogs smelled test tubes containing the breath of approximately 200 people. Some had lung cancer, and some didn’t. The dogs were then trained to lie down and touch their noses to the tubes that contained the cancer cells. Boedeker said the dogs successfully identified the cancer-containing test tubes in a startling 71 out of the 100 people who had the disease.

I suppose the lesson here is to pay attention when your dog sniffs you a little more than usual. Then again, dogs spend an inordinate amount of time smelling certain things; so if you’re prone to panic, you might mistake a simple friendly greeting as a canine warning of colon cancer or something.

3. Scientists in Pamplona, Spain, have discovered that Siamese cats can “see” when you’ve been drinking. According to a report from the Navarre Regional Association of Veterinary Research, a seven-year study on the peculiar visual structure of the Siamese breed (which sometimes manifests as crossed eyes) shows that these cats can distinguish between the perspiration of a person who has a moderate level of alcohol in his system and a person who does not.

The study was originally intended to determine if Siamese are less active at night than most cats due to the fact that their blue eyes lack a tapetum lucidum, a structure that amplifies dim light in the eyes of other cats. The mutation of this structure in the Siamese cat has been found to produce abnormal neurological connections between the eye and the brain.

Researchers also found, quite by accident, that this mutation apparently allows the Siamese to detect alcohol vapors in human perspiration. Following a social gathering, a team member who came into the research lab one evening noticed the peculiar behavior of the Siamese cats, who eyed with great curiosity the man’s sweat-soaked T-shirt he discarded—even though the cats were separated from the researcher by a pane of glass. Acting on a hunch, the researcher later repeated the scenario, using a “sober sweat” T-shirt as a control measure; the cats again reacted to the shirt moistened by “vodka sweat,” as he termed it.

Following publication of these findings in a popular local magazine, pet shops across the greater metropolitan Pamplona area quickly ran out of Siamese cats, besieged obviously by wary bosses, housewives, and local temperance movement advocates. The Pamplona PD also instituted a pilot “SSC” (Siamese Sobriety Check) program, in which a cat rides along on each patrol. Tiny, little policeman’s caps were made, but the cats kept brushing them off and chewing on them.

Good luck, players! And keep your hands where we can see them.

Roger White is a freelance writer living in Austin, Texas, with his lovely wife, two precocious daughters, a very fat dachshund, and a self-absorbed cat. For further adventures, visit oldspouse.wordpress.com.

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8 Responses to “Here’s Your Chance to Win Five Easy Dollars. I’m Not Joking. Maybe.”

  1. rona ebert August 19, 2011 at 1:25 pm #

    well i am pretty sure the true story is dogs and cancer. so i guess i am the first correct answer so i guess i win.

    Cheers, Rona

    • oldspouse August 19, 2011 at 1:55 pm #

      e-mail me, silly. if i give out the answer here on the blog, then my millions of followers will know the answer. ok, 11 followers, but hey. and you still need to come over and partake of the grape with us.

  2. Kristie August 19, 2011 at 2:17 pm #

    I asked Olivia to subscribe to my blog. Her response: “Not until I am the 50th subscriber and I win a prize. Don’t you know that’s how it works?”
    sigh. (Number 2 is the real story.)

    • oldspouse August 19, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

      I know, I know. If this trend keeps up, I’ll be paying my agent $10,000 to find me a good vanity press.

  3. Trinity River August 20, 2011 at 11:07 am #

    I like the one about the platypus. It should be true.

    • oldspouse August 20, 2011 at 12:21 pm #

      I’m with ya, Trinity. I just love saying platypus any chance I get.

  4. phdinyogurtry August 20, 2011 at 12:57 pm #

    Oh number three is correct for sure. But it isn’t only Siamese cats who can detect vodka sweat. Some husbands can, too.

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