Laughter is truly the best medicine

By: Tony Overbay
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If laughter truly is the best medicine, my wife will be the picture of health for years to come. I gave her quite an increase of white blood cells this past weekend while clearly depleting mine.

Now, every time she looks my way she’s getting a booster shot.  I’m afraid the story that is about to follow is not to be read by the weak of stomach.

Let me take you back a few short months ago. We decided to take on some major backyard improvements. Neither one of us cares much for yard work, so once the crab grass had overpowered our real grass, we knew it was time for a major overhaul.

We have two dogs that require the backyard to, what’s the nice way to say it, eliminate. This project would require many workers in our backyard from time to time, thus requiring the need for some good old MacGyver ingenuity.

First we put in a doggie door. Not in the door itself, it’s glass, but in the wall. Second, we created a dog run against the house made of stakes and chicken wire.

My Tennessee relatives would have been proud. The dog run was entirely on cement; we wouldn’t have any grass for several weeks. So we put down a couple of pieces of sod and called it good.

For weeks, we hailed ourselves as geniuses, virtual dog whisperers in our own right as the dogs seemed content to go out the doggie door and do their business on the sod. Every day or two, I’d clean the solids and spray off the grass. I was shocked to see that the grass was actually growing.

Turns out all I needed for a healthy, green lawn was a pad of cement underneath!

As time went on, we began to notice a puddle here and a pile there inside the house. All kids are potty trained as far as we knew so we assumed it was the dogs.

A few days ago, we were met with a flat-out revolt! The dogs refused to go on the sod. My wife and I decided that it was time to replace the sod and we purchased a couple of pieces and set out to swap out the old with the new. So far, so good.

My wife rolled the green waste can over and I climbed into the dog run. I was wearing gloves and I immediately started to roll up the first piece of used sod. I had barely started rolling when I was met with a stench that I can only describe as old grass, plus dirt, plus ammonia and “elimination” with equal parts rotten egg and plugged toilet.

My gag reflex kicked in automatically. The smell hit my wife and it took her down to the concrete. I gathered myself and quickly apologized for making my little dogs sit out there for 15 minutes the previous night waiting for them to do their business (which they refused to do).

I held my breath, reached down and rolled the sod. As I rolled, I noticed how wet the underside of the piece was. I picked up the sod and immediately felt its increased weight, the weight of weeks of watering, both by the dogs and myself.

I got it about waist high and realized I was losing it, both my lunch and the sod but I was committed. I slopped the sod onto the lip of the green waste can and threw the other side over.

The resulting “thud” sent what my wife kindly later called “mud” in a sheet across my face and jacket. It was at that time that I was starting to gag so my mouth was wide open to receive the mud. I screamed, my wife started laughing and fell to the ground.

I fell back against the house, eyes closed, mouth open and started laughing too but shortly thereafter yelled for my wife to grab something to clean off my face. My eyes were starting to burn.

Seconds later, my wife came back out with diaper wipes in one hand and a camera in the other, trailed closely by two dogs with an odd look of justice on their furry faces.

The taste in my mouth was far worse than anything I had ever experienced, even the liver and onions I was subjected to as a kid.

I begged my wife to let me have a diaper wipe before my photo shoot, and thankfully, she obliged.

The photos are now on her computer, as well as on my Web site for the world to see, as my wife says, purely for medicinal purposes.


Tony Overbay is a 16-year resident of Lincoln and a father of four. Overbay is a Marriage and Family Therapist intern and runs You can read more of his writings at