Thursday, October 05, 2006


Or, "punchbug," for short. Some of you know may the game as "slugbug, no slugs back," but I grew up in upstate New York, where it was not only "punchbuggy," but it was also frequently played with wood-paneled station wagons instead of with VW Bugs.

I'm teaching my son to play. We're using Beetles, and I've explained that it really should be "punchbeetle," but we're sticking with "punchbug" because I'm the mommy and it's my game and that's how I played it when I was a kid. The rule my son has insisted on, sort of de facto, is that if I see one, I am to notify him so that he can call the "punchbug." If I should call it first, I have to share. I am, under no circumstances, to claim the Bug for myself. This may seem a bit unfair; however, it's only been since yesterday that he can reliably call "punchbug!" on Beetles. Prior to yesterday, he was calling "punchbug!" on every shiny, sort of rounded-edgy car that went by. (Today he was catching them left and right, and every time I said, "that's not a punchbug," it turned out I was looking at the wrong car. He didn't call a single one wrong today.)

But he told me yesterday that he's not allowed to say "punchbug" at school. Since there is no actual punching associated with our punchbugging, I don't know why that would be (if indeed he's telling the truth - his tales are not always, er, accurate). He told me 1) he's not allowed to say "punch" (and I really hope this isn't true, because WTF?!), and 2) his teacher told him it's not a Bug, it's a Beetle (and again, a big WTF?! from me at his teacher telling him he can't use a time-honored phrase because it's incorrect).

But I managed not to say, "that's the most inane thing I ever heard of," and instead suggested that maybe "punchbug" could just be our game to play at home.

I certainly hope this policy will apply to "Smear the Queer," a big playground favorite when I was little.

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