Thursday, October 21, 2010

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The Fine Art of Toilet-Papering

I realized earlier as I picked up the last roll of toilet paper in the house that I forgot to buy more at the store the other day.  In this house, with 3 females (who are home all day), just how valuable this commodity is.  How ironic that “commodity” and “commode” are formed from the same French word meaning “suitable” (sorry, that’s the English teacher trying to jump out).

In our town, I think that stores could raise the price of toilet paper and see lavish profits. Here, throughout the year, and especially during homecoming week, teens in the area participate in tee-peeing houses. I don’t know enough teens here to know what they call the activity down here. Where I’m from, we said you “got rolled” if you woke up to find your yard and trees plastered a billowy white blanket when there was no snow in the forecast. 

Here in Louisiana, rolling is done to popular kids.  If you are tee-pee’d down here, it’s a badge of honor, like you’ve been accepted into the “in” crowd.  Back in Tennessee, if you were rolled, it either meant that you didn’t have a vicious dog to guard your house, and/or you had a location that was an ideal canvas for some Charmin (but don’t expect a thank-you from Mr. Whipple).  Yikes, remembering him makes me OLD.


I lived in the same house until I was 18, and we were only rolled once.  I think it was because we had a huge, wide spruce tree in the front yard that some kids saw as the “Mt. Everest of trees” in the neighborhood.  The poor kids never got even half-way up.  Clearly, they were amateurs.

I can’t say I was an expert either.  As a teen, I’d only gone rolling once. A friend and I rolled one house, not very well, but we were inexperienced. It wasn’t bad for a first try.  We didn’t know the people that lived there. We were just finding an easy target. We tried to hit a second house that night, but you don’t take your chances when the “Duke” of the neighborhood is barking like he’s going to rip your head of if he finds you. We ran home (we walked to the next subdivision over to find our targets).  We were 13, out of breath, and a full of adrenaline. 

Back then, with less-stringent animal control laws, dogs roaming in the neighborhood were always a risk. I’d tried to take another friend who spent the night with me to roll someone in my neighborhood, but I quickly changed my mind when I remembered that two Rottweilers lived close to us. They were sweet dogs, but I didn’t want to startle one of them in the middle of the night.

Most of my adult years in Tennessee, I didn’t live in areas where a lot of rolling occurred. About 10 years ago, a group of adults (myself included) did go and roll our preacher’s house one year.  It was all in fun, and we spelled out his name in his front yard.  He was a good sport about it, and we all had a good laugh.  I think some of us were trying to relive our youth.

Apparently, rolling is popular again.  With the rise of the internet, there are guides like this Wiki How To Toilet Paper a House article, and even a Ning network for people who love to teepee.

Now, in spite of a curfew on kids in our town, you find plenty of houses in toilet paper wrap every week here. With the large live oak trees, the results can be very impressive. It reminds me sometimes of how the Spanish moss drapes from the branches.

But then I feel for the people who have to take the stuff down.  Especially if it rains… what a mess!  Anyway, I wonder if the victims ever try to think on the practical side and consider using all that paper for anything, as long as it stays dry?  Maybe shipping material? Or insulation?  All I know is that a lot of toilet paper is being bought in southeast Louisiana, and a great deal is not being used on bottoms.  And now I am anxious as I think of the last roll in my bathroom.  I hope the teens don’t buy it all before I get to the store tomorrow.

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