Literally: “shank knocker” / meaning: A joke that is so good it makes you knock on your shanks
Germany has a difficult relationship with humor. Nevertheless—or perhaps because of this—there is a bewilderingly large number of words for a joke: Witz, Scherz, Ulk, Jux, Flachs, and Kalauer are just 6 of the many, many examples. Even a deep-rooted German humor specialist will not be able to explain the subtle differences between these terms—yet he will always make use of the appropriate word with surgical precision. Just like most other Germans do.
There is, however, one term that stands out for its ingeniously self-explanatory nature. When somebody tells you a joke that makes you laugh so hard that you will have to spank your thighs: congratulations, you have been listening to a genuine Schenkelklopfer. It is usually a simple and rather flat but effective joke. And you wouldn’t think I’d end this section without telling you one. Okay, ready? Here we go. How does a German show that he is making plans for the future? He buys two cases of beer.