On being introduced to Jara Cimrman

Chatting away last night and a bloke introduced me to the character Jara Cimrman (pronounced, I think, Zimmerman).

Originally an invention in a radio show back in, erm, 1967 or so. One of these historical characters who had been everywherre and knew everyone. Zelig, Forrest Gump, Flashman, all contain elements of the idea.

He delivered the pitchblende for the Curies for example. Told Chekov that two sisters really wasn\’t enough sisters (which is a very good joke I think).

But he\’s much, much more than this in Czech culture. When they did the TV show \”Greatest Czechs\” (like 100 Greatest Britons) the voting by SMS was such that he was going to be the clear winner until they disqualified him for the trivial reason of not being a real person.

So far the best story about him I\’ve heard is that when Bell invented the telephone he discovered three unanswered calls from Cimrman on it.

The Czechs themselves say that they\’re very similar to the English in their sense of humour. I can rather see why…..

7 comments on “On being introduced to Jara Cimrman

  1. Chatting away last night and a bloke introduced me to the character Jara Cimrman (pronounced, I think, Zimmerman).

    Slavs telling a joke about someone with a Jewish name? Someone who sounds a touch pushy?

    Good to see political correctness has not reached the Czech Republic yet.

    The British press has run with characters like this before. I doubt any of them ever became national though.

  2. So that’s the tradition the Chuck Norris thing mutated from. I think I prefer the Czech version.

    There’s a few characters along the same lines that came out of American academia, for some reason. George P. Burdell from Georgia Tech is the ur-example.

  3. Zimmerman isn’t a particularly Jewish name – Bob Dylan is Jewish, Ethel Merman wasn’t. It’s a fairly common name in Germany, meaning ‘Carpenter’.

  4. As may be, Paul, but looking at pics of the great Ethel over the years, she really wouldn’t stick out in Stanmore Broadway Tesco of a Friday morning. ‘Specially not in the regulation designer jogging suit & silver trainers.

  5. “Chatting away last night and a bloke introduced me to the character Jara Cimrman”

    So, tell us what’s he like, then, now you’ve been introduced and all? I’ve heard he’s a real character!

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