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A Night at the Symphony

           The Cleveland Symphony was performing Beethoven's
           Ninth. In the piece, there's a long passage - about
           20 minutes - during which the bass violinists have
           nothing to do. Rather than sit around that whole
           time looking stupid, some bassists decided to sneak
           offstage and go to the tavern next door for a quick

           After slamming several beers in quick succession (as
           bass violinists are prone to do), one of them looked
           at his watch.  "Hey! We need to get back!"

           "No need to panic," said a fellow bassist. "I
           thought we might need some extra time, so I tied the
           last few pages of the conductor's score together
           with string. It'll take him a few minutes to get it

           A few moments later they staggered back to the
           concert hall and took their places in the orchestra.
           About this time, a member of the audience noticed
           the conductor seemed a bit edgy and said as much to
           her companion.

           "Well, of course," said her companion. "Don't you
           see? It's the bottom of the Ninth, the score is
           tied, and the bassists are loaded."

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