In The Know

People sometimes think I’m well informed, because I’m lucky
enough to be heard on NPR’s ‘Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me.” For those of
you who don’t know, it’s a weekly news quiz show. I get to be a part
of a panel of three, about once a month or so. I lose a lot, even
though I study the news on the weeks that I’m on. Although, the study
sessions are a bit brief sometimes. How much I know about the world is
directly related to how much of my attention is gobbled up by the
goings on of my family life. Things have been rocky at home of late.
It’s a lucky thing I’m not on “Wait, Wait…” this week. I know
almost nothing. I know there’s a witch running for Senate, but that
may just be seasonal. If election day was at a different time of year,
she may have been an elf or a Pilgrim. I know that, in France, High
School students have joined others in the streets to protest the
retirement age being moved to sixty-five, which means they think way
farther ahead than Americans. In Santa Monica we have High School
students who won’t graduate until they’re sixty-five. Thank goodness
our High School students don’t worry about retirement. Surely, good
news does not await them on that topic. If the current French High
School students retire at sixty-five, and come here on vacation,
they’ll find eighty year old college educated Americans beating the
fuck out of each other for the chance to bus their tables.
I do listen to NPR often. I don’t pick a program. I just turn it
on and listen to what’s there. I end up catching “Market Place” a lot.
I’ve easily heard 100 economists interviewed. They never seem to be
out of work. Still, I don’t really know anything about the economy. I
can tell when they play a happy little song, or a sad little song. It
doesn’t much matter. My personal finances are governed by my mood
swings, not sound advice. I can go from feeling broke to feeling rich
without the slightest change to my bank balance.
I have three teenagers. Life at home is a bit volatile right now.
I’m not sure when I’ll be able to again focus on the events of the
outside world, but I have a feeling it’ll be like missing a soap opera
for a while. The story won’t have moved along very far with or without
my watchful eye.


  1. Mrs. Sinkiewicz says:

    Thanks for this very entertaining update. I totally get what you mean about “feeling broke to feeling rich without a change in my bank balance.” This has long been the case with me, kinda puzzling. I like it better when I’m feeling rich. As for influence of family life on the ability to keep up with the outside world, “Oh, yeah.” An aunt of mine had four kids in five years. After watching a retrospective on the 60′s one night with her husband, she turned to him and said, “Will ! I missed the entire Viet Nam era!” That story really captures something about motherhood. My father’s brother used to tell us, “You know, your father used to be a pretty smart guy till all you kids turned his brains to mush….”

  2. I have 3 teenagers too. The grey hair is coming in fast and furious! I’m beginning to appreciate their baby years and little kid stages so much more now…..

  3. wiederhm says:

    I listen to you on NPRs “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” and you crack me up during each show. I think you should do more than one session of “WWDTM” per month because it’s always funnier when you are on. I realize that you being on “WWDTM” more often means that you would have to leave your kids more often – since they are all teenagers now that may be a blessing … for you.

  4. Delia says:

    Dear, DEAR Paula! I cherish the times you are on WWDTM. It’s my favorite NPR program, especially when you’re on it! Your sense of “right” and “stupid” are always correct. You ask all the right questions.

    I agree with you 100% regarding Pop Tarts and NPR programs. I don’t care much what’s on, as long as it’s NPR. And Pop Tarts are FOOD, dammit!

  5. kentrader says:

    Paula, we saw you in Kansas City a year or so ago and you are the reason I listen to WWDTM. Keep it up.

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