You’ve probably already heard about “Wodehousing,” a disturbing trend in which teenagers videotape themselves covering strangers’ homes with the full text of P.G. Wodehouse novels.
Here’s a photo taken by a homeowner in Tucson, AZ:
In case you need a bracer, though, here are some basic facts about the illegal new craze:
1. P.G. Wodehouse did not invent “Wodehousing”
Though the British author was an eminent jokester and wit, his pranks never included writing the entirety of his novels sentence-by-sentence on unsuspecting neighbors’ homes. The first documented instance of “Wodehousing” occurred in New Jersey in 2011.
2. Cleaning up after getting “Wodehoused” takes hours
Scrawling the entirety of Wodehouse’s 1938 book The Code Of The Woosters on someone’s house might seem like fun to the teens doing it, but to homeowners it’s anything but. It can take hours and cost hundreds of dollars to scrub away passages describing (often in spray paint!) the buffoonery of Bertie Wooster and his quick-thinking butler, Jeeves.
3. Three teens have died while “Wodehousing”
Two of them slipped while trying to “Wodehouse” a residence that overlooked a sheer cliff face. A third teen was struck by a drunk driver who’d accidentally veered onto the lawn of the home she and her friends were “Wodehousing.”
4. “Wodehousing” always involves a P.G. Wodehouse novel
Defacing someone’s walls with one of Wodehouse’s short stories (or short story collections) is considered a lesser form of “Wodehousing.” Works by Wodehouse contemporaries such as James Thurber and Raymond Chandler are similarly looked down on.
5. “Wodehousing” can happen to anyone
Even if you live in a typically “safe” neighborhood, you may be at risk of being “Wodehoused.” Be alert and on the lookout for groups of teenagers, usually Caucasian and dressed in tweed jackets and bowler hats, walking at night carrying stationery along with one or more copies of a P.G. Wodehouse novel. Report such activity to your local police immediately.