“Let’s Paper the House”
I was once 16 years old.
I’m not proud of that, but it was unavoidable. You’ve got to be 16 before you can move on.
Do you remember – during the Covid lockdown – when toilet paper and eggs were like diamonds and gold? Back in my day, toilet paper and eggs were so plentiful that we would throw them at the houses of our enemies.
I think her name was Lori-something.
Anyway, one of twins – Brent, not Kent – decided we should cruise his Starsky-and-Hutch Gran Torino out to Lori’s house between Broken Arrow and Coweta (co-EET-uh) around 1AM to honor her with a spectacular abundance of toilet paper and eggs.
For the uninitiated, this is how it worked:
- Wait until everyone is asleep.
- Park a long way from the house, so they can’t get your tag number if they wake up.
- Stand in the front yard holding the tail of a roll of toilet paper in your non-dominant hand.
- Without releasing the tail of the paper, throw the roll with your dominant hand over the peak of the roof.
- Your counterpart in the backyard will retrieve the roll after it rolls down the other side of the roof and falls onto the ground.
- You have now created a paper rainbow over the top of the house.
- Wait for the roll to fly back over the peak and roll down your side of the roof to fall elegantly at your feet.
- Admire your second toilet paper rainbow as you take a step sideways.
- Rinse and repeat 50 times.
- Pray for rain so the paper melts onto the shingles. [DO NOT use the garden hose.]
- The newbies, the neophytes, and the beginners can throw eggs where they are sure to be seen and hard to clean off.
- Papering a house, done properly, takes at least 15 minutes; 20 if you want to make the front page.
We were almost done when Lori-something’s father stepped out the front door. He seemed to understand that we being 16 and him being 40 meant there was little chance he could catch us on foot, so he shouted curses no mortal ever cursed before as he hobbled in his bare feet across the gravel driveway and got into his car wearing nothing but his pajamas and his rage.
He hit the gas pedal so hard I’ll bet the gravel is still flying. That man came after us like the Wicked Witch of the West screaming, “…and your little dog, too.”
Brent whispered, “Stay off the road and I’ll pick you up on the highway,” as we melted into the darkness.
Want to know the truth? Mark Twain was right:
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
I ordered Huckleberry Finn for my grandson, Gideon.
Does that make me a good grandfather, or a bad one?
Roy H. Williams