The inventor of the bank ATM machine is celebrating its 50th birthday. Actually, he celebrated its 20th birthday, then its 20th birthday again, and then its 10th birthday.
How I wrote it:
News items about interesting people who are marking some milestone, like a birthday, tend to attract my attention for joke writing. That’s because those news items lend themselves to a punch line that answers the natural question of how they celebrated.
To create this punch line I used Punch Line Maker #1: Link two associations of the topic. The two handles of the topic are “ATM” and “50th birthday.” The “50” in “50th birthday” reminded me of how ATMs dispense $50 bills but also give you the choice of taking your withdrawal in 10s and 20s.
To link “dispenses 10s and 20s” to the other handle, “50th birthday,” I constructed a punch line stating that the inventor celebrated the 50th birthday the way an ATM might dispense a $50 withdrawal.
I realize that “ATM” stands for “automated teller machine,” so writing “ATM machine” is redundant. But my Joke Maximizer #4 is “Make everything clear,” so I added the words “machine” and “bank” to “ATM” to ensure that my audience would immediately make the connection that my punch line depends on.
I also used Joke Maximizer #6: Make the punch line parallel. I wrote the punch line so that each of the three birthday celebrations sounded similar and repetitive, like bills being rhythmically dispensed by an ATM.