John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton

A bad joke

One of the idioms we discussed at English Conversation Time tonight was "rings a bell," as in "I don't think I've met him, but his name rings a bell." I passed up the opportunity to tell the Internationals the joke that phrase brought to mind, but you folks aren't so lucky.

After Quasimodo died, Notre Dame de Paris needed to hire a new bell-ringer. The day after the job opening was announced, a man presented himself at the cathedral to apply for the job. Like Quasimodo, this man had been born deformed: he had no arms. The bishop was dubious that a man with no arms could ring the bells, but the man insisted he could, and asked to be taken up to the bell tower to demonstrate.

Up in the bell tower, the man said to the bishop, "Regardez!" He backed up a few paces, then ran head-first into the nearest bell, which rang as loudly as if he'd pulled on the bell rope.

"Incroyable!" the bishop said. "But that is a relatively small bell. Can you ring a larger one the same way?"

"Bien sûr," the man said. He backed up a little further, and again ran head-first into another, larger bell, causing it to ring with a beautiful clear tone.

"Sacré bleu! If I hadn't seen it, I wouldn't have believed it," the bishop said. "But I wonder, will you be able the cathedral's largest bell in that manner?"

"Tout à fait." The man backed up even further ... and stepped backward over the edge of the tower.

"Mon dieu!" The bishop ran down the stairs and out into the street, where he saw the armless man lying dead in the street, surrounded by a crown of horrified onlookers. One of them noticed the bishop standing there, and said, "Mon seigneur, who is this man who fell from the bell tower?"

The bishop shook his head sadly. [Trait final (click to open)]"I don't know his name," he said, "but his face rings a bell."

Tags: bad jokes

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