Believe it or not, I once used to be a joke writer. Of course, I’m exaggerating when I call myself a joke writer. In high school, I sent off a few dozen jokes to some of the magazines I used to read. I was actually paid five dollars for a joke that they printed. But I can’t even remember the joke. Before I built up the courage to be a standup comedian, I wrote a lot of jokes. My mother and I loved to tell each other jokes, so one Christmas she gave me a subscription to a joke magazine called Ribticklers and Kneeslappers. I really loved reading that magazine because of the jokes in there. Of course, I soon thought up a few jokes and sent them in. They published one and printed my name in the magazine, but I don’t remember if they paid me anything or not. However, I do remember the joke, the only one they published: The receptionist tells her boss, “You have a client on the phone.” And the boss says, “Well, tell him to get off of it before he breaks it!” With jokes like that, I still can’t figure out why I never made it as a professional comedy writer. As a comedian, I wrote my own jokes, but I also had some help from my friends. I also helped tweak jokes for my fellow comedians. During this time I responded to an ad for a comedy writer for a comedian in California. She described herself and her act and I sent her about twenty-five jokes. Out of all those jokes, she eventually bought one for five dollars an returned the rest. I was also going to write for a local cable TV comedy sitcom. We met a few times and then the show was cancelled. Of course, because I was a standup comedian, I was offered to write a humor column for the Chicago Area Runners Associaion in their magazine, The Finish Line. For about two years I was Dear Dr. Sidestitch who offered runners humorous advice, which led to me publishing a few humorous running stories in the Illinois Runner and other publications. At Derby Foods, our parent company Beatrice had a caption contest in the company publication. They provided four historical photos of the factory scenes and we had to provide a caption. I submitted captions for all four pictures and I was sure that I would for all four pictures. But alas, I only won the caption contest for only one picture. I don’t really remember the caption now, but everyone at work thought it was funny. And I received fifty dollars for my caption!