Cheap Toilet Paper: It Has Its Benefits

Where I come from, we call this “TP’ing” (toilet papering). Here in the south it’s called “rolling houses”. Either way, you buy tons of cheap toilet paper and thread it through trees and bushes and anything else you can find to cover.

As a teenager, I lived for October just to TP a house. A friend. Ex boyfriend (we bring out the paraffin for that and Vaseline and feathers), could be a teacher or principal. They have it coming. You know they do.

Point is, I can remember getting together with friends and waiting for that midnight hour when we got our dark spy gear on, grabbed black trash bags and filled them with our weapons, and shoved some rolls down our shirts and pants. Running back and forth to the car took too much time. 

Sometimes, we’d walk the neighborhood, sometimes we’d drive and park down the road, depending on where we needed to go.

The excitement of getting caught and chased was just as much fun as throwing the gleaming white paper into the darkness and watching it loop magically through the trees. In fact, we hoped we’d have to run.

Laughing in a ditch for two hours while our fingers froze was a thrill. Peeling out, leaving a spray of gravel and dust was exhilarating. 

My favorite TP adventure might have been when me and two girlfriends decided to get the guy on the hill. We tortured his yard and then a dog barked. 

We froze in place, tried not to breathe hard, listened. 

The sound of a door opened. 


We booked it across the yard and dove into a pile of wood and brush.  He flew across his yard. We prayed he wouldn’t see us. He scaled that dadgum pile of brush. I heard my friend, Carrie, groan. I covered my mouth not to laugh. He landed on her in his leap to further him along in his capture.

I guess with all that adrenaline racing through him, he didn’t hear her.

When he was long gone down the street, we took off the other way, hopped in the getaway car and showed up to school Monday grinning.

Funny thing about my friend we TP’d. He turned out to be a FBI agent. In fact, he’s my consult for my FBI series. I wonder if he went into that line of work because I, the ultimate villain, got away.

When I expressed that to him on the phone. He just laughed. The kind of laugh that tells me I’m dreaming and nice try, thanks for playing. 

Ah to be a teenager. Who am I kidding? I still go every year. I can’t run as fast or hard and I’m probably more cautious, staying away from windows and doors, taking the outer trees, hoping I don’t get arrested b/c Tim has informed me, “I’m not bailing you out for this, Jess, and try not to wake me up when you get home–which better be before daylight.” 

Yeah, I’ll be sure to consult the Farmer’s Almanac.

You know, it’s kind of like serial killers (not glorifying killers, people) just saying when the deed is done, you have to go back and stare at it. It’s satisfying.  And maybe, just maybe I keep a token, like a water hose nozzle from each victim. Nah, I don’t keep tokens. My junk drawers are full and I don’t have time to carve out hiding spaces. 

Have you ever rolled/TP’ed a house? Do you still? Or am I the only one with Peter Pan syndrome?