Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Question of Rebellion [Connor]

I'd like to pose a question here. You're entitled to your own opinion on it, unless of course you disagree with me, in which case you're wrong.

No, I'm kidding about that, but without further ado, here's the question:

Why is TPing considered so bad?

I'm referring here to the practice of spreading toilet paper around on your friend or neighbor's property. A harmless, fun little prank that used to be a valued element of Rigby's summertime culture. What happened to that? Every year, more and more parents suddenly become convinced that TPing is apparently some kind of evil practice. The way some people talk about it, you'd almost think it was on par with, for example, terrorism. I'd like to prove that that line of thinking is totally off the roll, if you'll pardon my metaphor. Of course, there are a few arguments, used time and time again, as to why TPing is so evil. For example:

1. TPing is vandalism.
2. TPing is disrespectful.
2. TPing is a rebellious pastime that encourages kids to misbehave in other, worse ways as well.

Let's be honest. TPing is NOT vandalism. The online dictionary lists vandalism as "willful or malicious destruction or defacement of public or private property." Hmm. As destructive as toilet paper can be, I don't think it quite qualifies as "destruction of property." Defacement? Depends, really. I suppose if one believes that spending 15 or 20 minutes of time outdoors on a beautiful morning performing an easy cleanup on your lawn is a terrible punishment, then maybe it's defacement.

Nor is TPing disrespectful. I've TPed my best friends on multiple occasions, and they've TPed me. In fact, the tally of my TPing Jed Billman's house is now approaching five. Is TPing supposed to send some kind of "I hate you" message? Of course not. It's a harmless joke. Is the TP permanent? No. Pick it up. Is the TP going to bite? I sure hope not. What kind of TP are YOU using?

Does it lead to worse activities? Quite the contrary, actually. Kids need some kind of rebellious outlet, if you will, a little way to rebel. It's in kids' DNA. We have to do something to defy authority. TPing allows for a harmless way to vent out that inherent need to rebel. My own mother, actually, says that TPing is a good way to satisfy kids' need to rebel. Kids have to rebel somehow; would you rather know that they're putting toilet paper on a neighbor's lawn, or be comfortable in the knowledge that they're sneaking out at night, inventing their own nighttime activities to entertain themselves until the cops arrive?

I'm not saying, of course, that you should stand by and let somebody TP your house. Feel free to quietly slip out of the house, tackle them, and force them to clean up the house the next morning (I still bear scars from Bobby Roos' tackle during one epic TPing job). But FOR GOODNESS' SAKE, DO NOT CALL THE COPS ON TPERS. Sorry for stooping to using capital letters, but let's get real: is throwing a little TP around your property worth notifying the police? If the answer is yes, you need to get your priorities straight. Also, if your kid wants to go TPing, don't immediately refuse and put him under house arrest. Find out who he's doing it with and who he's TPing, and then let him go. It's that simple.

TPing is harmless way to have a little fun. Kids will always rebel somehow. It's your choice: you can choose to let them rebel and still know where they are, who they're with, and what they're doing. If that's too much, then you can tightly control them, ban them from this harmless outlet, and wait for them to find other ways to rebel. It's your choice.

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