I think this is pretty funny.
One quality that endeared Fr. Louis to all the brethren was his terrific “sense of humor.” His sharp and penetrating intellect enabled him to perceive the amusing and the comic, seconds before almost anyone else. I noticed this, in Chapter talks. “Chapter” is the time, whether in the evening before Compline or Sunday morning after Lauds, when the entire monastic family gathers in a large room outside the Church proper. Usually at that time, the Abbot gives some spiritual conference, and makes any announcements pertinent to the family – such as, for example, new appointments or changes in schedule, etc.
The monks all had seats around the wall, usually in rank of seniority. The monk who sat on one side of Fr. Louis was Fr. Paphnutius. He and Fr. Louis often had jousts of chivalrous, humorous wit – each trying to “outsmart” the other.
One Sunday, Fr. Paphnutius changed his name – who could blame him? It was my duty to announce the change to the Community, so I said: “Our Fr. Paphnutius has received permission to change his name.”
I looked down the line of monks on my right to Fr. Paphnutius. Of course I also saw Fr. Louis. The minute I mentioned Fr. Paphnutius, Fr. Louis was all alert, perhaps wondering to himself, “What’s my sparring partner up to now?”
So I continued, in as serious a judicial voice as I could muster, “Henceforth, he will be known in history as … “ I could see out of the corner of my eye that Fr. Louis was on the edge of his seat. Then I stopped for a few seconds – for effect – and, trying to sound like an astronaut concluding a message to Houston control, barked out: "ROGER!”
With that, Fr. Louis burst into laughter, clapped his hands on his knees, and almost rolled off onto the floor. Fr. Louis’ laughter was ebullient – bubbling over. He looked at his neighbor, the erstwhile Paphnutius. Paphnutius, smiling wryly, looked back at Fr. Louis as if to say: “I put one over on you that time.”
(from “Thomas Merton, Monk – a monastic tribute”, edited by Brother Patrick Hart, pp. 143-144)
(Note: Abbott Dom James and Fr. Louis are buried side by side in the cemetery at Gethsemani.)