We’re kicking off Giving Tuesday early this year! Your donation today will be matched up to $10K, doubling your impact! If you donate $50 today, the Reader will receive $100.

The Reader is now a community-funded nonprofit newsroom. Can we count on your support to help keep us publishing?

New York Herald, May 5, 1891. Do kids still play this game? I remember it as a pretty common part of the preadolescent repertoire of pranks. It had a whole bunch of different names, the only one of which now comes to mind was something like “Knock on the door ginger,” which is remarkably uncatchy but suggests a provenance older than the electrification of houses. The standard praxis was to hit the same house multiple times. I can’t recall ever having been so victimized since I became the proprietor of my own door and bell.