toilet paper

toilet paper

Growing up in the Midwest, there weren’t always a lot of things for kids to do. If you were tired of bowling and weren’t interested in what was playing at the $2 theater, you’d likely find yourself walking around Target, going to Taco Bell, or loitering at the local ice cream shop (a seasonal affair so, in the winter, your options were cut down significantly). It’s no Jay-Z concert, but we managed. For us, complaining about “not having anything to do” was about as common as anyone complaining about George Bush doing anything — it honestly just gets old after awhile. In retrospect, however, we did have stuff to do, we just had to come up with it ourselves. And Bush is still an idiot.

This homemade approach to fun and adventure was also the approach we took to mischief. The suburbs are a generally innocent area so the traditional forms of troublemaking didn’t really apply — we had to make our own. I was never really much of a hell-raiser, or what my grandmother might call a rabble-rouser, but in junior high I think I had some sort of a mid-child crisis. A realization that I hadn’t caused very much trouble in my early years and that pretty soon, I wouldn’t be able to get away with the patented: smile, shrug and say “I didn’t know any better.” It was time to finally cause some trouble before it was too late.

When push came to shove, I was a bit of a scaredy-cat (classmates of mine had more colorful ways of putting it that I will spare you…) so I enlisted the help of some of my friends. To protect my cohorts, I will give them tightly sealed aliases that have no ties in anyway to historical crimes of any kind.

Oswald, Booth and myself had decided that we were going to engage in the adolescent criminal act that is TP-ing. GASP! For any poor souls who don’t know what TP-ing is – first of all, I’m sorry your childhood sucked – secondly, TP-ing is the act of taking toilet paper and tossing it amongst a person’s trees, bushes or assorted lawn furniture.

What’s the point of it? I’m not really sure anyone knows but boy oh boy is it bad!

We were too young to drive at this point so we would have to pick a victim who was near us and then plan a sleepover (a truly clever ruse). Knowing that our parents wouldn’t let us trade our overnight bags for Costco sized packages of Charmin we were forced to only use what was available at Oswald’s house.

The sun had gone down, the parents had gone to sleep and we’d already enjoyed all of the typical sleepover fare: cheap pizza, too much Mountain Dew, bad action movies. We were getting dangerously close to go-time. The tauntingly red numbers on the clock glowed 2:30 and the three of us just sat in Oswald’s living room, waiting for the other person to say “alright, lets do this!” It was obvious that none of us were going to grow up to be the next Al Capone. We couldn’t even motivate ourselves to put down the Doritos and leave the house.

When the infomercial for the Thunderstick (a new all-purpose kitchen appliance) had begun to play for a second time we knew that it was now or never. We gathered up our weapons (Cottonelle Double-Ply) and gathered for a meeting.

First order of business: How the hell are we going to carry all of this? I solved this issue by means of a crafty fashion tip. I slid the rolls onto my belt so they wrapped around my waist turning me into a 240-pound bathroom accessory with a bowl cut.  This way of thinking proves to be previously unforeseen foreshadowing to me working for the company who made Queer Eye. I’m sure the Fab Five would’ve been pumped to see my ingenuity.

Second order: How are we going to get there without being noticed? Apparently, we thought that the suburb police (neighbors) were going to have their noses glued to their windows ready to report suspicious activity. Paranoid as we were, we developed a plan that involved all three of us taking different paths through yards and side streets alike.

Everything was in place. I was bummed that we didn’t have any camouflage face paint but otherwise we were ready to go. We slid out Oswald’s back door and headed off.

My path was entirely through backyards. At this point in my life, I was incredibly confident in my ability to jump fences (like I said, not a lot to do in the Midwest) so I was pumped. Luckily, none of the yards had dogs for me to wake or, more dangerously, pools for me to plunge into because my night vision isn’t the greatest. I pretty much just ran until I got to a fence. Lawn gnomes be damned.

The three of us arrived outside the house of…. Oh, shit. I should probably conceal this name as well. Protect the innocent, ya know? Um. Who’s someone that gets shit on a lot? Or made fun of a lot? No… not Nickleback. That’s a band, not a person. How about Yoko Ono? That’ll work.

The three of us arrived outside Yoko’s house at about the same time. Oswald and Booth began their paper peppering in the front of the yard while I stood to the side. I undid my belt and slipped my first bit of ammunition off. Armed and ready, I stepped into the yard pulling my arm back, ready to through and BLAM!

A porch light turned on! Shit! Yoko’s up! Or maybe Mr. Ono! Oswald and Booth booked it out of there – ignoring their secret pathways and just running the fastest way they knew. I, shielded in the side yard, stayed put.  I knew that even if Mr. Ono saw me, I’d be able to get away because I was definitely better at jumping fences than he was.

I was crouching behind a bush for what seemed like forever. My legs were getting tired and still no one had come out and the light was still on. It then dawned on me, it must have been a motion sensor light! Nobody had seen us – we could still pull this off! Unfortunately, my cohorts were already back at Oswald’s learning about the chopping AND mixing ability of the Thunderstick. I was on my own.

I set out to single-handedly conquer Yoko’s front yard. It was dark but after a short while of tossing and tearing, I was convinced that I had taken care of business. I had achieved “mischief.” If this were a movie, I would be sitting in a leather chair, petting a cat and giving my best evil laugh. But this wasn’t a movie. And I hate cats.

I returned to the lair and explained the situation to my allies who championed me the savior of the evening. A simple motion sensor had nearly foiled our plans completely. But nay! Fear not! Drew was here to save the day. Soon minstrels will write songs about his heroic tale!

The next morning, as we all begrudgingly woke up after our voluntary 3 hours of sleep. We enjoyed donuts and OJ until we heard Oswald’s father yell down the stairs  “Honey, are we out of toilet paper?!”

Crap. We all looked at each other. Mouths wide – exposing half eaten bear claws.  Loose end #1.

The doorbell rang shortly thereafter and it was my father, there to pick me up.
“Perfect timing Dad,” I thought “Lets get outta here before the bathroom supply conversation starts.”  So we got in the car and pulled out of the driveway… and then it hit me.

We’re gonna have to drive past Yoko’s house. Shit. Loose end #2. My father would have to be delirious not to put together the blaring coincidence of a sleep over only four houses down from a front yard that was freshly mummified with bath tissue.

I attempted to start up conversation to keep my Dad’s attention focused on me but I couldn’t think of anything to talk about. I was a deer in headlights. I was spouting off phrases and questions that sounded like they were pulled from a bad Seinfeld stand up routine.  “How bout those sports teams?”   “What’s the deal with airline food?”   “So music’s cool, right?”

A pathetic attempt though it was, we passed Yoko’s house seamlessly. No double-takes. No questions. No nothing. I thought for a brief second that maybe my distraction had worked but when I turned around in my seat, I got a good look at my masterpiece. A few pieces of white paper scattered the ground and one lonely strip draped across a bush. That was it. It looked like a downtown street after the lamest parade ever.

I was the world’s most pathetic TP-er. The wind does a better job trashing your hard than I do. I’m so pathetic that my father didn’t even notice I’d done it. One of the top three junior-high crimes in all of suburban Ohio (behind chalk graffiti and de-pants-ing) and it was like nothing happened.

I may not be a criminal mastermind but I have the covert efficiency that any crime lord would kill to have. Mr. Capone – follow my lead and nobody will ever know that you cheated on your taxes.

- dc


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