La vache! La vache! I don’t know why, but this floats through my head:

When I took my semester of Spanish in Chamberlain, SoDak, of which I remember a great deal more than I remember my two years of German in Flandreau, I tried to make a joke about my mother’s age.

This is an important life lesson: don’t try to make jokes in Spanish. I tried to say–don’t ask my how to do it now–“My mother is twenty-nine, as she has been for the last ten years.”

I may not have said it right, because the teacher (fresh out of college) exclaimed, “She can-not have been twelve years old when she had you.” Breaking her rule of never speaking English in class, you see. I explained what I was trying to say, and she refused to translate it for me.

French, however, is a different matter. I had a friend with a similar temperament with whom I traded many witty jokes, such as, “You cow needs a lobotomy.” If I could remember how to say “need” in French, I’d translate it for you.