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Tony Overbay, Special to The News Messenger

Humor guy is back

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Almost 12 years ago, I wrote my first column in the Lincoln News Messenger. It was an editorial piece. I was tired of jogging around town getting chased by dogs. I called for leash-law enforcement! A few days later, I got a call from the Lincoln Police Department when I was at work. I thought they were going to yell at me again for leaving my basketball hoop on the sidewalk. They wanted to know exactly where the dogs were coming from. I almost felt bad ratting the dogs out. After all, they were just doing what dogs do (barking and chasing) but I was also tired of running for my life every time I turned down the road leading to my house. To this day, an occasional dog still chases me and I wonder if they’re perhaps socially organized. Maybe those dogs did some hard time and, when they got out, they spread the word about the little bald guy who snitched. Every now and again, my own dogs will come inside after being out on a walk and they’ll eyeball me a little differently, as if they’re trying to process if I’m the guy they’ve heard about. But the most exciting part about that column was the fact that it stirred folks into action. Not only did the police take care of the problem, people stopped me on the street to tell me that they either agreed with me or to stop being a baby (OK, that was just my wife, but still …). I was hooked! Shortly after that first piece, I wrote about the old Lincoln Donut shop. If you think Pink Box is good (which it is), the old Lincoln Donut shop was amazing. I walked into the shop one morning and the owner just slid the donuts across the counter and said, “thanks for the mention.” I was so happy that I set the donuts on top of my van while buckling my newborn into her car seat and then I drove away. I realized I was missing the donuts when I got home. I was just glad I hadn’t buckled the donuts in and set my daughter on top of the van. The now famous Lincoln Chinese restaurant opened shortly thereafter. I wrote about them as soon as I could and I must have gone in there a half a dozen times after the article went to press waiting for my free plate of General Chicken but it never happened. I wrote about train whistles and the bypass (my favorite joke was that I’d probably have a bypass before the bypass was finished). If you saw the amount of ice cream I ate tonight, you’d still be safe putting your money on my bypass coming first. I used to take regular shots at city politicians, in particular, the mayor at the time, Ray Sprague. When Gold’s Gym opened up five years ago this summer, the first person I saw on the weight room floor was Mayor Sprague. He was lifting more than me, so thankfully he took the ribbing well, and he and I worked out together for a couple of years before he moved out of town. My last article went to press in December. I’ve been asked many times where I’ve been? I was asked if I was fired, if I’d retired or if there was another paper I admired (sorry, couldn’t resist the urge to rhyme). The truth is, I just haven’t had anything to say. If you’ve made it this far, you might think that’s still the case. But you know what? Lincoln kept on moving forward without me! I think it taught me a lesson, that it’s better to keep on keeping on than to sit back on the sidelines and watch. The ladies at the post office had a better theory, that perhaps something I might have said over the past few months wouldn’t have been taken too kindly so my sabbatical was somewhat inspired. Regardless of the excuse, I believe I’m back. I must have something to say, something about that new Mexican restaurant that just opened in town, Casa Ramos, I hear it’s pretty good. Now somebody get them a copy of this column. Tony Overbay is a humor writer, a 16-year-Lincoln resident and a father of four. Read more at tonyoverbay.com.