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Of humour and fun in the marriage

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Levenslooppsychologe en Coach Judith Niekel-Sjoerds

Of humour and fun in the marriage

Or: “Be careful what you wish, you might get it”

Humour varies per culture, country and even per family. What someone/some cultures may find hilarious, may not be seen as “funny” by others, but simply as inappropriate or odd. The English have a good reason for enquiring whether something is “funny haha” or “funny peculiar”. And not everyone gets a joke.

Read below about how someone turned a joke her husband had told about her at work into a new hobby. PS Any similarity to me and my husband is purely coincidental.

“Meet my husband, the joker in our family. He is so straight-faced when he tells jokes, people often get confused and think that he is serious. Many persons actually believe the biggest nonsense he says. Like what, will you ask.

Let me give you a recent example of one of his jokes that became a new truth. Now, in order to get the joke, you must know that he works with 7 colleagues in shifts and that these colleagues vary per shift. In other words, you often do not see each other for weeks or even months, and therefore you do not know much, or remember everything, about each other’s personal life.

So, back to the story: the other day he came home from work, all smiles, and told me: ‘Guess what honey, you’ve got a new hobby!’ My face remained totally blank, while I already mentally braced myself (I know him!) and neutrally asked: What do you mean? ‘Well,’ he said, ‘we were chatting a bit during our break and some colleagues were asking me: So, what does your wife do? And I replied jokingly: nothing much. She does nothing all day but watch the grass grow. Then I thought that sounded too boring, so I added pensively: Now that I think of it, she does have this new interesting hobby that is taking over our house. Oh, the colleagues wanted to know, what hobby is that, then? Well, I replied, (he’s not daring to look at me now), she’s collecting bicycle valves.’ And by now he is rolling with laughter on the floor, especially after seeing my flabbergasted face. You should know, he told me all this in Dutch. In Dutch ‘bicycle valves’ sounds even sillier: fiets ventieltjes.

Grasping for air he bravely continued, between fits of laughter: ‘I told them: You won’t believe how many she has collected; the whole garage is filled with different valves. They all thought I was dead serious (wiping a tear from his eye). They were being so polite in their reactions, I just had to continue and say how fascinating you find this hobby etcetera or they might have felt bad. I didn’t want that, either.’ He looks at me with the most boyish grin ever and I just continue to look at him in utter disbelief. “Bicycle valves” I could only stutter, “and they thought you were serious?” He just nodded, with his Peter Bell’s eyes.

So, as revenge, I have started collecting bicycle valves. Apparently, if Google search is to believed, I am the first ever to start doing that– not that that surprises me. I already have got two – and, surprise, our two bicycles now have got flat tyres – and guess who is responsible for fixing flat tyres? ? Revenge is a dish best served cold.


As of now I am constantly on the lookout for more, preferably custom-made, bicylcle valves. They exist, I found that out during my Google search. A truly fascinating world has opened to me. E-bay and Alibaba, here I come. I am going for a Guinness Book of Records listing. My husband doesn’t know what he is in for with this joke. Well, at least he now knows what to get me for my birthday.”

Judith Niekel-Sjoerds

Levenslooppsychologe en Coach

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