Dolphins and Discourse

I am an avid NPR listener. It’s great to feel somewhat on top of things, and Ira Flatow’s calming voice has worked me through a number of D.C. traffic-induced moments of rage and terror. I commute a half hour each morning and evening, and normally welcome the way that NPR helps rouse my brain from its comfortable pre-coffee state of zombie.

Its politics are mild enough, and when it gets too polarizing in one direction or the other, I can always change the channel or turn off the radio. It rarely happens. One day driving to work, it did. And since it happens with such infrequency, and the story was so ridiculous, it stuck with me.

A month or so later, a very dear friend was getting married, and a group of us gathered the day before her wedding for a delicious picnic brunch. We were making small talk, and I shared a story I’d heard on NPR about Navy-retired dolphins who were being rehabbed and recorded so that their war stories could be related to future generations, once we learn how to interpret Dolphin-speak. “I’m all for the government supporting rehabbed dolphins,” I concluded (and I am–spend a few years searching out underwater mines, and I’ll feed you fish for the rest of your life, too), “but I think it’s a bit ridiculous that they’re recording them.”

“But you didn’t tell the best part!” a couple of fellow NPR fans exclaimed.

“Oh? What’s better than rehabbed war veteran dolphins?”

“It was for April Fools!”

Yes. Apparently I was one of the few people who turned the station, and didn’t catch the tail end of the segment in which the “professional” they were interviewing said “We have no (bleep) idea what these dolphins are saying. They could just be shooting the (bleep) or singing or talking smack about seals. We have no idea.” You know, the part of the story in which it became clear that it was all tongue-in-cheek. I also didn’t catch the re-run the next day, in which they explained their prank.

So–I WAS fooled! It worked, and I was had! You should read the transcript, though, because it’s great, and would make an excellent piece of propaganda to incense your stodgy older relatives at the next family get-together, or entertain your friends on your next picnic brunch. Just remember that your punch line should be that it was a joke. And if you forget, blog about it afterwards, so everyone knows you’re not insane.


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