For Whom the Bell Chimes

Put a ring on it.

Put a ring on it.

What better way to ring in the New Year than with a new doorbell chime. I’d been wanting to make some changes in my life for a while because (to paraphrase Bob Dylan) ♫The chimes, they are a-changing♫. What better way to tell the world you’re getting your personal thing together than to swap out your 22-year-old doorbell chime. The traditional F-sharp to D-flat dyad would no longer do. I needed something that bespoke the changes that had happened in my life. I thought a C# to an A would say everything my heart couldn’t.


And you know something? Friends started to notice. They mentioned it to me; “Hey Dave. There’s something different about you and I can’t quite put my finger on it?” That’s when I showed them my new doorbell ringer and then they could put their finger on it. Then they understood. They would ring my bell with great certainty and remark “Now I no longer have to ask, ‘For whom the bell chimes?’ For it chimes for thee.” Heavy stuff. But I guess that’s what you have to go through when you break on through to the other side.


I got my new doorbell at a big box Chimesco. They had a better selection than Chimes*Mart or Chimes and Roebuck. Plus Chimesco has all those free food samples I usually call, lunch. Like many of us do, I went into Chimesco for just a simple doorbell chime. $600 later I trundled out of there with one of those hi-tech Japanese toilets and my newly beloved doorbell chime. But after 3 weeks of light use (the doorbell and not the toilet), it wasn’t enough. I craved another bell. One with maybe more than two tones. One that sounded like what was really in my heart. So I bought a doorbell that played Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline each time it was rung. And in order to hear the doorbell rung legitimately and not just gratuitously I began ordering a lot of random things through Amazon, just so the delivery man would have to drop them off at the door and then legitimately ring the bell. I tried to stagger my purchases so I’d get something delivered every day. Clearly, my new life was taking shape.


I know it sounds strange, but I could tell the difference between a legitimate ring (to alert me someone or something was at the door) and a gratuitous ring (frivolously done just to hear the chime). It was like the difference between sex and masturbation: I had become that sensitive to this little electronic pulse. This had never happened before with my silly ringtones. Something was up. Soon even Sweet Caroline wasn’t enough. It was just a gateway chime and I craved more. I moved on to installing the opening sonic boom of the Beatles’ Revolution. Boy that’ll get your attention. All day long I’d sit around hoping the well-behaved neighborhood children would play doorbell ditch or some Jehovah’s Witnesses would show up. Fully down the rabbit hole of doorbell dependency, I even went so far as to create a Jehovah’s Witness bypass chime that played Hendrix’s All Along the Watchtower if my neighborhood webcam spied them coming down the street.   


Halloween became a national holiday for me. I wouldn’t answer the door unless a trick-or-treater rang the bell. And with candy as incentive it received multiple legitimate rings from the little fructose-seeking monsters. It took me a while to recover from my Halloween aural frenzy. I didn’t need to hear another doorbell ring until December. Of course long about Veteran’s Day I’d start getting that tingling feeling in my Eustachian Tubes and it would make its tantalizing way deep into my eardrums until I couldn’t stand it anymore; and the next thing you know I’m ordering on Amazon again.


My whole world has changed and I owe it all to a simple New Year’s resolution to freshen up my life with a new doorbell chime. I encourage others to do the same. Your resolution doesn’t have to take the form of a new doorbell chime per se. It could be something less intrusive, like changing the sounds of your smoke alarms, so when they go off, instead of a high-pitched beep, you hear really loud coughing. I might even suggest replacing the simple beep of your microwave with an Aah-Oh-Gah horn so you’re gently alerted whenever your soup is done. Those are some things you can do for you. For me, my path is the doorbell chime. Yours might be having the Google GPS lady give you directions in a German accent. The point is, you should be moving towards the one. As always, I wish you the best on your journey and may you be in Berlin half an hour before the devil knows you’re dead.  


For yet another refreshingly semi-spiritual story with the John Donne poem For Whom the Bell Tolls as a backdrop, try this link to: For Whom the Bridge Tolls. And remember, when you come to that fork in the road; it’s important to have someone to spoon with. I have to go now. Someone is at the door for me. At least I think the bell chimes for me. But perhaps it chimes for thee.  

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