By MIKE VINSON
Patty Shapero, a young, up-and-coming attorney with the prestigious firm of Bender, Wenner & Spender, was a contestant on the popular TV show "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" Utilizing her high I.Q., Patty had reached the "final" of the "Finals." If she correctly answered the next question she would win $1,000,000. If she answered incorrectly she would go home with only the $32,000 milestone money.
Still, if Patty won, not only would she add considerably more money to her bank account, it was guaranteed she would be made a "name partner" in the firm. However, if she lost, she would be the scourge of the office. It was "glory" vs. "gutter" time.
A senior partner in the firm, Attorney M.F. Bender, an octogenarian whose nickname was "Legal Eagle," was her Phone-a-Friend Lifeline. It was common knowledge Bender was a documented genius, well read on subjects A - Z. It also was common knowledge Attorney Bender had a long-time relationship with Glenlivet single malt scotch, and, too, was married to a statuesque, blond model named Bridget, 29-years-old, who was considered nothing above a not-all-that-bright gold digger. Bridget didn't even know about Patty being on "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?"
The show's host, a dapperly-dressed gentleman in his mid-'60s, looked at Patty then looked down at the card he held in his hand. Locking eyes with Patty, his voice void of emotion, he asked, "Which of the following species of birds does not build its own nest, but instead lays its eggs in the nests of other birds? Is it: (A) the condor? (B) the buzzard? (C) the cuckoo? or (D) the vulture?"
Pure dread surged through Patty! She didn't know the answer! Since she had used up her 50/50 Lifeline and her Audience Poll Lifeline, her only option was Phone-a-Friend Lifeline. The audience went graveyard quiet as the show's host dialed the number, the dial tone acutely audible to those in attendance, as well as those watching from home.
"Hello," a female voice loudly rattled off from the other end.
"Bridget?" Patty asked with eyes bugged.
"Bridget, put M.F. on the phone--now!"
"We're already in bed, and he's snoring, too many scotches and too much of me . . . hee-hee!"
Totally humiliated, Patty sighed, her face blush-red. Shifting to rescue mode, the host kindly said, "Hey, Patty, you might as well ask her; it's your only option."
Emotionally deflated, Patty weakly repeated the "bird" question to Bridget.
"That's easy, the answer is C: The cuckoo," Bridget gleefully answered.
Patty had to make a quick decision: Her deductive and inductive reasoning skills told her to use reverse strategy and give any answer except the one Bridget had given. Considering Bridget was the typical dumb blonde, such would seem to be the logical thing to do. On the other hand, though, Bridget had responded with such confidence that Patty had been semi-persuaded.
"I need an answer," the host sternly prompted.
Her face drawn in a tight squint, Patty said, "C: The cuckoo."
"Is that your final answer?" asked the host.
"Yes, C, that is my final answer," Patty replied.
The host said, " That answer is . . . absolutely correct! You are now a millionaire!"
Two days later, Attorney Patty Shapero hosted a high-end party for her family, friends, and law firm colleagues, to celebrate her good fortune. Of course, Bridget was there with her husband, Attorney M.F. Bender. Champagne glass in hand, Patty walked up to Bridget and said, "Bridget, I just don't know how to thank you. Since you knew the answer to that final question, I am now a millionaire! And you know it was the sheer confidence with which you answered the question that convinced me to go with your choice. By the way, how did you happen to know the correct answer?"
"Do you even know what time it is?" Bridget asked with a condescending tone
Totally miffed at being affronted by the likes of Bridget, Patty retorted with, "Excuse me?!"
"Everybody knows cuckoos don't build nests--they live in clocks!" Bridget said, shaking her head.