Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Forgetting How Old We Are


March 4, 2014; Washington, D.C. – Carl Kasell, the famed voice of NPR News for three decades turned comedy star of Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!, has announced he's stepping down this spring after a five-decade career in broadcasting. Kasell will record his final broadcast for Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! this spring; celebration shows are planned in the show's home city of Chicago, and in Washington, D.C.

Carl has been gone from "Wait Wait . . . Don't Tell Me!" for over a month.  But we were in Mexico and missed the news and his final show.
When I turned the radio dial to 91.5 Saturday morning upon our return, I was surprised to hear the voice of Bill Curtis.  I would know that voice anywhere.  Curtis has been a media staple in Chicago for decades.
But I was confused.  Where was Carl?  Ill?  On vacation?  He couldn't be off the show for good.  His voice on a winning contestant's phone message remained the grand (and only) prize.
For several weeks, I listened to "Wait Wait . . . Don't Tell Me!"  No Carl.  
Just this morning, my husband, his family from Ann Arbor, and I were hanging in the kitchen.  My husband spun one of his exaggerated tales.
"You know," I said.  "That reminds me of the stories on . . . the NPR show.  What's the name?"
"'Wait Wait . . . Don't Tell Me!'" 
"Right.  It's the time in the program when each panelist reads a supposed news snippet about a most improbable event.  It's the contestant's job to somehow guess which one is true."
I turned to my husband's cousin and his wife.  "So, your challenge is to decide whether what this esposo of mine says is true or not."
Everyone laughed.
"Whatever happened to Carl Kasell?" I said.
"He retired," my husband said.  "I think he's ill.  He's 75.  What do you expect?"
"Well, my dear," I said.  "You turn 72 this year!"

I recognized the voice of Bill Curtis straight away.  After all, he's been a media staple in Chicago for decades.  
"Why is Curtis doing the show?" I asked.  

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