I was thinking about the COVID-19 toilet paper shortage when I recalled the day someone covered our lawn in tacky tissue.

It was spring 1992 at our home in South Carolina, when we awakened to find streamers of white toilet paper launched across the lawn, tied around trees and slung over the cedars. 

To say the “rollers” rolled everything but our cat would not be an exaggeration. Even the mailbox was mummy wrapped in white tissue. 

From the garage gutters to my Taurus’ tail pipe, the Charmin banners waved goodbye to life as we had known it.

The cool dew wet my toes as I ran barefoot through the yard at 7 a.m. in my pink nightshirt, pulling streams off the trees. The asphyxiated azaleas breathed easier as I freed them from their bathroom bondage. As I untied the shrubs, I thanked heaven my tomato plants had not been tethered. 

By 9 a.m., my children — middle schoolers back then — had assembled a most-likely-to-roll list. Each child had his or her own theory. 

Dear Daughter guessed it was an act of a scorned boyfriend. Handsome Son suspected a gang of high school boys.

Whoever they were, my husband was out to get them.

“Why me?” he cried as he teetered on top of a chair, arms stretched out as they held a rake, trying desperately to reach the toilet paper heights of the backyard maple.

As he climbed down, frustrated and tired, he mumbled something about juvenile delinquents and retreated to the garage.

It was there that he decided to “let the wind blow the rest down.”

Just about that time our neighbor came out. Mouth gaping open, he said, “They sure made a mess of things. Bet you’re ticked off, huh? Who would roll you?”

The truth is, we were just an ordinary family until we got rolled. People would drive by and never really notice us. But once our home was rolled, neighbors slowed their cars down as they passed by.

Heads turned in anticipation of spotting some clue as to why our home was chosen and not their home.

Still others laughed in a sadistic manner that said, “Better you than me!”

The truth came out the following Monday in school when the “rollers” could keep their dirty deed a secret any longer. 

None of us guessed the culprits — three seventh-grade friends of my son, out on their first teenage prank. 

Did we seek revenge? Nah. Kids! What can you do? 


Staff writer Shelley Terry believes when it comes to toilet paper rolling, we should turn the other cheek.

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