This morning I was listening to the local oldies station while I was driving to one of my clients' house. I was singing along (with the windows rolled up) to the hits of my generation, the 60s. After I had struggled to hold the closing note to Jay & the Americans' "Cara Mia," the DJ announced that it was time for the days musical contest. "The prize today is four tickets to an IMax theater in the Boston area. The tickets are good for any feature in the next six months," she said.
She said that the contest was in a sense a trick question. She went on to say that she would make a statement about an artist and one of his or her recordings. "The statement may or may not be true," she said. "If you are the specified caller and you think it true, tell me that you agree. If you think it false, not only do you have to call me a liar, in a kind way of course, but you have to tell me why and you must prove me wrong with a correct statement."
My brain was already convinced that her statement was going to be false. I noticed too that she did not repeat that it was in a sense a trick question. I prepared my cell phone by punching in all but he last two digits of the station's telephone number. Knowing that other callers do the same thing, I only wanted to even the odds of getting through.
"Okay," she said, "I'll take the fifteenth caller. The statement for today is: Jimi Hendrix on his song Crosstown Traffic, is the only artist to actually use a kazoo on a record."
At about one-half second I punched in the final two numbers. The line rang once and the producer said, "You are caller number twelve. Thank you for calling and please play again tomorrow." Damn! I should have waited a full second!
Caller number fifteen was very uncertain and gave his answer in the form of a question. "Uh, is it true?"
In perfect unison with the DJ, her and I said, "WRONG!" I punched in the telephone number again and waited for the producer to answer. In the station's contests if the specified caller gives an incorrect answer, they open up the lines and take all callers in the order the calls were received. They don't tell you how many are ahead of you when they place you on hold. If someone does answer correctly, all the calls on hold are unceremoniously disconnected.
As I listened I was shocked that five callers said, "True." Weren't they listening? If not, why did they bother calling in the first place? In school, if you didn't know the answer to a teacher's question, did you hold your hand up anyway?
I felt sorry for the next caller. The woman, Linda from Dorchester, said she had three young kids and they all have dying to see a movie at the IMax theater. She said that money was so tight and that she couldn't afford to take her kids there. She said that the DJ was wrong. She knew that another artist, namely Dion used a kazoo on his record "Diana."
"I'm sorry," the DJ said, "You are half right, but that isn't good enough. Remember callers, I said it was a trick question. Let's hear "American Woman" by the Guess Who and then we'll take the next caller."
It startled me when the DJ's voiced blared into my ear. "Hello, you're the next caller. Can you give me the answer I'm looking for and the proof that my statement was incorrect?"
"Yes, I believe I can," I answered. "But could I make a request first?"
The DJ was taken back but said, "It's a little unusual, but sure. What is your request?"
I stammered a bit but managed to get it out, "Provided I am correct, and I am sure I am, I would like to donate the prize to that girl Linda with the three kids."
"Wow!" she exclaimed. "That's very nice of you. To all of you listening out there, chivalry is not dead. Okay Mike, what is your answer to today's contest?"
The answer I gave to the DJ, which was correct by the way, will appear below in this post.
"Congratulations! You have proved me wrong," she announced. "Mike, could you please stay on the line a little longer?" I agreed and she said, "Linda in Dorchester, if you are still listening please call in right now to claim your prize which has been so graciously donated to you and your three kids. I have kept Mike on the line so that you can thank him personally."
It took the girl only thirty seconds to call. After a brief introduction over the phone lines, Linda said, "Mike I don't know how to thank you. If I was with you, I'd give you the longest, hardest and most passionate kiss you ever had!"
I looked at the radio wide-eyed and thought, "Watch it, girl. That's how you got those three kids." After I disconnected, due to a thirty second delay, I listened to the "passionate kiss" part again before the DJ told the girl to give the necessary information to the producer so that the tickets could be mailed to her that afternoon.
The DJ then said, "I'm going to dedicate the next song to Linda's generous benefactor. Mike, here's some Mel Carter for you!" As I listened to "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me," I felt ... good!
The answer and the proof I gave the DJ? Not only was Jimi Hendrix "not" the only artist to employ a kazoo on a recording, he did "not" use an actual kazoo! Hendrix used a makeshift one - a comb and some wax paper! I also gave another song that featured a kazoo: "Johnny Get Angry" by Joanie Summers.
....Sure it was technicality, but it "was" a trick question!