Toilet papering: The glory years

The tell-all exclusive!

Katharine Hargreaves

Let’s face it. I was a troublemaker in high school. While I had been a pretty well-behaved kid for most of my life, it seems that ninth grade was the turning point from which there was no going back.

The thing is, growing up I had been the kind of kid who would have rather eaten her last crayon than ask to borrow another and I was better friends with my Barbie dolls than I was with most people my own age. I wasn’t a weirdo who torched animals in my basement; I was just a shy girl who had a Winnie-the-Pooh sweatshirt and just KNEW I was going to go to hell for saying “crap” at the dinner table. I didn’t live in fear of God; I just lived in fear of having my allowance taken away.

Everything changed the moment I met Julie. Julie had chubby cheeks and delighted in barfing up her cheese pizza at all of my fourth grade slumber parties while I mentally died. It was her idea to steal people’s boots in the winter and stuff them with snow at recess, and I’m just as sure that it was her doings that undid me.

But then Julie moved, I stopped getting so many detentions, and my parents stopped browsing for juvenile delinquent detention centers online. We all thought the bug was gone for good, that perhaps I had shed it with my baby fat, or it had just passed through that year like the flu – a virus, but temporary nonetheless.

Until I hit high school.

After my Julie years, I had matured and my hardened, streetwise-but-sensitive exterior attracted all the right friends. I soon fell into a group with a devious streak like mine and, like every group of girls who “just want to have fun,” we decided to spend our Friday nights flashing anime geeks playing Dungeons & Dragons at the local comic book shop or toilet papering the houses of people who had crossed us.

Since I had received my Chevy Malibu that year, it was a unanimous decision that I was to be the driver. My car wasn’t stealthy black, but it was dark green, and it made an excellent cooler for stale beer and rotting Taco Bell treats that sustained us well into the night. Perhaps my Chev wasn’t a Rolls Royce, but it was trusty – plus, it held at least 70 rolls of toilet paper. Our fate was sealed, and so we dubbed it “The Sperm” and rode into the night.

It was after several weekends of TP-ing our favorite teachers’ houses that my biggest lesson on misbehaving was to be learned. I had been able to maintain my newly reacquired image of do-gooder daughterliness for several years, and while I had broken curfew and gotten into a fight with a math teacher, no real infractions had occurred. I wanted to maintain that as long as possible. After all, my parents were paying for college, and who knew just what would set them off.

It was a warm autumn day when I walked outside to find my dad “searching” in my car for his “camera.” As I walked toward the car, I could already see his moustache twitching as he held up the Icehouse in his hand.

“Where did you get this?”

“Uh Ö leprechauns put it under my pillow.”

“And what about this?” he asked as he held up two forlorn, shredded rolls of toilet paper.

“Oh Ö that’s funny. I guess those were stuck to the sole of my shoe, Dad.”

“Oh, come on!” he grinned. “You know what they’re for, just tell me.”

Not anticipating this change, I smiled and said, “No really, I can’t imagine what I would need those for.”

My father looked one more time at the evidence in his hand. Throwing the beer into his car, he threw the toilet paper back into mine, slammed the lid with gusto and said:

“Well! I guess I’ll just leave that in there in case you ‘need’ to (crap) on the road!” Indeed!

Kat Hargreaves welcomes comments at [email protected]