My heart hammered as I walked on stage to compete at the O. Henry Pun-Off World Championship in Austin, Texas. For years, my punning had pushed friends, family and potential employers away. For once, it might be rewarded.
Now standing before a nerve-wracking crowd of 600, the four-decade event's largest crowd to date, I shook hands with my opening round competitor, a social media educator from Texas named Sean Carey. Our surprise category was announced: undergarments.
"Muhammad Ali and George Foreman are boxers," I began extemporaneously.
"I'll keep this one brief," he retorted spontaneously.
"On the backs of cars are...