For most of my life, I’ve been friends with the same group of people, a group of guys who lived in my neighborhood: Lance, Alex, Chris and Ryan. Just growing up over the years has separated me from almost all of them, but Lance and I have pretty much stuck it out for close to 17 years. It was Lance who got us into trouble. Really big trouble.
One of those bonding experiences guys have when they’re young is spending the night at one another’s house and going toilet-papering. I loved toilet-papering someone’s house because of the danger and because it was, to some degree, vandalism. For a few brief hours I was the punk my strict upbringing never allowed me to become.
It was one of those nights. Between the five of us, we had brought more than 40 rolls of TP to Alex’s house and had planned an attack on a pre-adolescent’s biggest enemy: a girl. The house was several blocks away, so we took special care to not be seen by all the cars that drive through my neigborhood in the middle of the night.
The job was successful ? the nefarious girl’s house was blanketed almost completely with toilet paper. We were congratulating ourselves when I noticed that Lance was rather agitated. It seems that during our barrage, he had lost a fresh roll of toilet paper in a lemon tree and was feverishly trying to dig it out. To this day I could never reason what was so special about that roll–maybe it was two-ply Charmin, or something of equal quality. Heck, maybe it was three-ply.
Whatever reason Lance had, he had abandoned everything else in trying to get this roll down. We helped him out as best we could, but for all intents and purposes, that roll was one with the tree.
Lance would not accept defeat, however. Despite the fact that we later walked back to Alex’s house and started to watch a movie at 1:30 in the morning, Lance managed to persuade the four of us to go back with him and pick through the lemon tree. We searched and, amazingly, we still didn’t get it.
At this point, the five of us were tired and a little crazed after just digging through a tree for a roll of perfectly useless toilet paper. It didn’t suprise me, then, when a car came around the corner and Alex jumped in front of it and did a little dance. The look on his face changed quickly when he realized who was in the car. “It’s a cop!” he said.
We ran into my backyard. Bear in mind that my house was not the site of the sleepover. Throwing the rest of our TP under my deck, we huddled, afraid, in my back yard. Chris and Lance tried to jump the fence. The officer walked behind my house with a searchlight and a megaphone, telling us sternly that he knew we were there and to come out.
The cop took my friends and I out front and lined us up against my garage door, threatening to take us downtown and generally making us feel sub-human. Five minutes later, we had two sets of parents taking their turns with us.
We woke up early the next day and walked back over to the previous night’s achievement. We climbed the hill adjacent to the girl’s house and surveyed the scene. We knew we were in serious trouble, but we also knew it was worth it. Especially when the girl came out and shrieked.