No Bell For Me

Saved by the Bell

Tell us about a time when you managed to extract yourself from a sticky situation at the very last minute.

I have heard two different stories about the expression “saved by the bell.”

A boxer is knocked off his feet and the bell to end the round rings before the count of ten. Thus he is able to return to his corner where his head can be cleared enough to be pummeled for yet another round. Which leads me to wonder, was he really saved? In the days of John L. Sullivan and Gentleman Jim Corbet the round was not ended by a bell, but when one of the boxers was staggered by a punch and fell to the canvass. There was no bell to be saved by.

Another possible explanation was in dreary old England. It was reported that people were actually being buried before they were dead. How this was brought to their attention I’m not sure. At any rate, before a person was buried a string was attached to his or her finger. It was strung through the coffin, up through the dirt, and attached to a bell. A set of instructions came with the string; “In case of an emergency or life please pull string and scream your bloody lungs out.” Thus if a tinkle was heard it was not another angel receiving their wings, it was Uncle Milton trying to claw his way out of a coffin.

There is yet another phrase that comes from this morbid exercise; “The graveyard shift.” Yes, what if Uncle Milton should start clawing during the night when decent folk were in bed. Someone must be employed by the graveyard to listen for any bells. The only requirement was insomnia and good hearing. Today the standards have been lowered for the “graveyard shift.” Insomnia or good hearing have been waved.

Considering both histories of being saved by the bell I wish to be in a position of neither.

Here is a link to my short story for the day, Optimism – you think you got it bad.



  1. I’ve worked the graveyard. Shift, that is. It is not as bad as most think it to be. I will say that on quiet nights when the clouds quietly drift quickly overheard and the there is no breeze your mind begins to wander.

    “Did I just hear a bell in the distance?”

Blather away, if you like.

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