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Saturday Stupidity IX

Quasimodo, the Hunch-backed bell ringer of Notre Dame Cathedral, was getting old and feeble. When the priest suggested that he retire, Quasimodo agreed that it was probably time. The priest asked him to train a new bell ringer before taking his retirement, and Quasimodo agreed. Ads were posted around the city, and Quasimodo began to interview applicants.

One day, a young man with no arms came to interview for the position. Quasimodo was polite, and allowed him to fill out the application, which he did by holding the quill between his toes. Finally, Quasimodo decided he should be honest with the poor fellow.

“I’m sorry to have to ask this,” he said, “but how will you pull the rope? You have no arms.”

“If you give me a chance, I’ll show you. I can do it,” the man, whose name was Bob, replied. So, Quasimodo led him to the top of the bell tower, and they waited. At noon, Quasimodo instructed him to ring the bell twelve times. Bob backed up, and ran full speed into the bell, striking it with his face. Eleven more times he repeated it, and then sat down, exhausted and dazed.

Amazed, Quasimodo said, “That was incredible, but can you do that every hour, day after day?”

“Absolutely, I can do it,” he replied. He was hired, and Quasimodo could now retire.

Bob performed his duties reliably, day after day. Then one day he went to the priest and said, “I have a brother who is looking for some extra work. Could I have him ring the bell sometimes, so I can have a day off?” The priest had no objections, so Bob’s brother, Ed, who also had no arms, came to be Bob’s substitute, doing the job just as well, and in the same bizarre way.

One day, when it had rained, and the wind had blown water in on the bell-tower floor, Bob went up to ring the bell. As usual, he ran toward the bell, but this time he slipped on the wet floor and slid past the bell and out the window, falling to his death. People gathered around, and one spectator called out, “Who is he?”

Someone closer looked at the poor, broken body on the ground and answered, “I don’t know his name, but his face rings a bell.”

Ed was called in to take over the job. The very next week, after a rain, the same thing happened. Ed, slipping on the wet floor, plummeted to the ground, stone dead. Once again, spectators gathered around. Someone commented, “He looks like Bob, but it can’t be – he died last week.”

Another onlooker replied, “It’s Bob’s brother, Ed, but you’re right – he’s a dead ringer for his brother.”

2005-08-13 at 8:00 AM MT | |