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Halloween (In)Justice

As a  faculty member at a local university I sometimes have students ask me where I live.  I am leery of this, especially at Halloween time.  Years ago, when I was a new faculty member, I had a colleague that enjoyed having students hit his house with toilet paper.  He always felt it was a sign of their affection for him.  Myself, I could do without cleaning up the mess.  Thus it got so that when students asked me where I lived, I told them if they wanted an address I would give them one.  The address I would give them would be his.  I know this was misleading, but I didn’t directly say it was mine.

Inevitably he would come to work the next day and laugh, “Those little devils hit me again!”  I would just laugh along with him, especially since I was not the one that had to clean the mess out of my trees.  He was surprised at the increase in his popularity in those years and I was more than happy to let him revel in the joy of the students’ love for him.

However, he got older and left us.  At first I was at a loss as to what to do.  But it wasn’t long until a new faculty member joined our department.  I nonchalantly asked him where he lived and then memorized his address.  Soon his house was getting hit by an exorbitant amount of certain squeezably soft personal paper products.


It was at this point I made a big mistake.  One Halloween, when the students asked me where I lived, I put my colleague’s address on the board.  I got busy with class and forgot about it.  As my lecture was ending, before I had a chance to erase the board, he walked in to prepare his class.  With shock, he asked what his address was doing on the board.  My students looked at me and grinned, and no matter how I tried to gloss it over, I knew I was in trouble.

That particular year we owned a beautiful, female Great Pyrenees dog.  We had borrowed a male Great Pyrenees to have her bred.  He stood almost eye level with many people while he was standing on all fours and when he put his paws on the fence he looked down on almost everyone.  He was especially intimidating as he protected the female, roaming diligently around our yard that nearly encompassed our house.

We heard a ruckus in the yard late on Halloween night.  The male dog started going crazy.  There was a loud commotion, a van door slammed, and then the van zoomed off, leaving us wondering what it was all about.

The next day my students approached me about turning their assignments in late.  They said the server my colleague was in charge of was not working.  I didn’t question them further, but told them to get the assignments in as soon as possible.

Later in the day, one student came in to confess that it wasn’t a server problem.  He then told me that my colleague had picked up a whole bunch of students in his van and then he drove to the store.  He went in and bought a whole bunch of the largest packs of toilet paper they had.  They had driven to my house to teach me a lesson, but had been driven away by the dog.

The student told me that when my colleague brought them back to town and dropped them off, they took all of his toilet paper with them.  Then, in the early hours of the morning, when they were sure he was asleep, they went and hit his house with the toilet paper he had purchased.  There was nothing wrong with the server.  He knew who had done it and he had locked their accounts.

And thus was fulfilled the saying  “They shall fall into the pit which they dig for others”, though my colleague might question the validity of my interpretation.


(Daris Howard, award-winning, syndicated columnist and playwright, is author of “Super Cowboy Rides” and can be contacted at; or visit his website at


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