The dinner usually starts at 18:30, but one day we somehow had it five minutes earlier. Cato was busy setting the table and the clock struck when she was going to the kitchen for a pitcher of water.
It's my luck to know the Frits family: they give me not only yummy dinners every week, but also a perfect environment to learn Dutch. My knack for being ignorant, in turn, brings some unexpected joy to them 'af en toe'.
Cato (Frits' wife): Nou, klokslag half zeven.
Derek (whispering): Gerard, did you hear what Cato said? Why did she curse the time?
Gerard (Cato's son): What did she say?
Derek: Klootzak half zeven.
Gerard: I don't see any problem.
Derek: She said klootzak, the Dutch SOB.
He couldn't help laughing and at the same time Cato was back.
Gerard: Mum, did you hear what Derek asked?
Cato: Nee. Wat zei hij?
After Gerard retold the story in Dutch, she grinned from ear to ear together with Gerard and Frits, and I was the only one left to be confused.
Gerard (patting on my shoulder): Hey Derek, what my mum said was not 'klootzak', but 'klokslag', which literally means 'clock stroke'.
Derek: Now I See...
Finally the gagster understood the joke he had made.
Yet I didn't fully realize the fabulousness of the joke until the encounter with two Dutch guys in Krakow last month. In the middle of the chat, expectedly, they ignored me and talked in Dutch. Suddenly I heard a 'klootzak' from them, and coincidently the church bell started to ring. 'Sorry maar heb je gezegd 'klootzak' of 'klokslag'? I do hear the clock is striking', I pointed at the church nearby. First they looked at each other for a second and then burst into laughter. That was the moment I completely perceived the greatness of this gag. Actually they were looking for a striptease bar but obviously I couldn't help. 'Hey men, as a Chinese, I only know where to buy rice-cookers, but no hookers. Veel succes!' Before saying goodbye I expressed my sincerest wish to them and in return they gave me with the laughter, again, from the bottom of their heart.
Some friends asked me why I learn Dutch. My stories above are self-explanatory: it's fun, isn't it?
Vid of the Week: A British comedian shares his story in Schiphol in QI.