Anyone who remembers this disco classic can relate to the very genius that is bell-ringing. From Santa Claus to Paul Revere, ringing a bell is not only a prestigious call-to-arms but it is also a god-given right, dammit! Why am I bringing this up? Well, recently I was asked to be a special guest to “ring the closing bell” near or on my respective last day at the office. And even though no one else (save the other person who was asked) seems to share in my enthusiasm over this momentous event, I’m sure Wall Street and the NY Stock Exchange both recognize the importance of this simple act.
Every morning, the bell signifies the beginning of trades, wonderful trades. In other words: MoneyMoneyMoneyMoney…MO-NEY! Oh those beautiful mounds of beckoning green stacks of cash. Just watch all those Brooks Brothers suits band together the minute that bell rings shouting, “Buy!” and “Sell!” on an over-crowded trading floor.
Oh, Mary! Oh, Martha! Oh, Mary! Ring Dem Bells!
Bells have always been sprinkled about as a beacon, or a symbol of good tidings. And it is never more prevalent than at Christmastime. But what makes the tinnied voice of this instrument so valid? Here are a few examples where bells come in handy:
Jingle Bells – Santa Claus (or that funny guy wearing a Santa suit) is a wonderful beginning. There’s just something about a tolling bell that makes people want to dip into their wallets and give. The Salvation Army is well aware of this, so you can walk down any crowded avenue during the holidays and you can hear it begging you for change.
Angels get their wings – “Teacher says everytime a bell rings an angel gets his wings.” “That’s right, Zuzu. Attboy, Clarence!” I have no idea if this is true or not, but hey, It’s a Wonderful Life.
School – One of the finer points of raising little militant tykes is the school bell. Dreaded by some and abhored by many, this loud clang can tell you if you’re late for class or if it’s already over. Period. No pun intended. No, really. Some more forward-thinking schools stopped this tradition because they held this practice akin to training Pavlov’s dog. Sit, Ubu, sit! Good dog.
Come All Ye Faithful – Church is a perfect place to hear bells. Belfries were designed for large, ominous hulking masses of them which guilt-tripped thousands over the centuries into attending church. In Christian mass, the ringing of bells is used as both an instructional tool and a subliminal trigger. Depending on when it is rung, it can instruct the to parishioners kneel, stand, sit, heel, and play dead.
What’s Good for the Pope…- It marked the passing of our a Papal leader. Ask not for whom the bell tolls then. No sir, it tolled for him. I only hope that when I go, someone will remember me in both song and toll.
Saved by the… – Yes, this bell sounding marks the end of a round in a heavyweight/lightweight/featherweight bout. Some fighters complained that they still heard bells long after the fight was over. Unfortunately, no one could attribute that to anyone but the fighter. Eh, punchy?
Just Married – At every wedding, there is the sound of bells. Whether it’s from a large pipe organ, small guest giveaways, or from Grandma’s old Yamaha synthesizer, there should be bells.
No one is madder than a hatter for love than I am. Let ’em ring in the union! Yeah! Okay, I’m way too excited about this.
Just Like Starting Over – John Lennon cleverly made use of a small bell sound at the beginning of this song and for some reason it makes me think of good luck.
Christmas Carols – Hark! How the bells (DING!) Sweet silver bells..(DONG)…All seem to say…Throw cares away…(DING)…Face it people, every Christmas song is way cooler with bells. And no sing-along is complete without ’em. So go ahead and enjoy the mirth and splendor. It only comes around once a year.
Ring in the New Year – Besides seeing a diaper-clad Child of the Millenia and Dick Clark’s Rockin’ Eve special, ring a coupla bells. You know you want to revert back to those bygone days when you played with Fischer Price stuff that rang, whistled, spun, shook and rattled. So what’s changed??
So there you have it: my take on the ritual. And remember that if you’re hearing bells where there are none, YOU’RE CRAZY. So sit back, relax and enjoy your madness, Ding Dong!