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Joke of the day

September 15, 2019

There’s a knock on the door of the bell tower in Notre Dame. (Obviously this is before the fire.) Quasimodo opens the door. A man standing there smiles and says he’s a world famous campanologist (that’s bell ringer, in case you didn’t know). He’s rung the bells in almost all the world’s most renowned cathedrals – except Notre Dame. He’d very much like to ring that particular bell.

Quasimodo looks at him and says: “Listen, mate, I’m not one to criticise handicaps, but you, um, you don’t have any arms. How are you going to ring the bell?”

The man smiles again, says it’s all right. He has a system.

“Okay,” says Quasimodo, “have at her.”

The man moves to the far side of the bell tower, then takes a run at the bell, which he hits with his head. There’s a small ping. He does this a second time. There’s a slightly larger ping. The man repeats this several more times. On his eighth attempt, the bell swings back. BONG!  The man looks over at Quasimodo, who nods encouragingly. As they exchange glances, the big bell swings back, hits the man and sends him flying out of the bell tower. Quasimodo goes to the edge of the tower and peers down. The man is splattered on the ground where a crowd of gawpers is already gathering.

“Bugger,” says Quasimodo, before he begins to descend the stairs. By the time he reaches the body a gendarme has arrived.

“Oi, Quas,” says the gendarme. “Who’s your friend?”

Quasimodo shrugs. “I don’t know his name,” he says, “but his face rings a bell.”


You’re welcome.

When I say “Joke of the day” don’t get too excited. There won’t be a joke every day. There may never be another one.

This was just my way of getting my fifteen minutes of writing in when I need to leave in an hour for this afternoon’s rehearsal.

I turned on the computer, stared at the blank screen and came up completely blank. What to write about? No idea.

Out of the blue that joke (told to me years ago by my friend Howard) popped into my head. What on earth prompted that? Not a clue, but it’ll do for today.

Fun fact: My friend Howard (who also told me the joke at the centre of That’s Nice) once complained to me about his name. “No one ever calls a fictional hero Howard,” he said. “It’s such a boring name.”

And that is how Howard came to be named Howard in my novel Rum Do.

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