As you may have noticed these days, VW has attempted to put a new spin on an old game to push some advertising and, apparently, sell cars. With violence.
Ok, maybe not so dramatic. But we’ve all seen these new Volkswagen commercials where people punch each other every time they see one. Red One. Blue One. Silver One. Only, rather than doing it for a Volkswagen Beetle — as the game was intended — they are doing it for every car.
You know what VW? Mothers of boys out there would like you to knock it off. Because you are simply encouraging our kids to punch each other at the very sight of cars. What the hell?
Of course, I am much more of a follower than a leader. So if my kids are going to start punching each other (because I am powerless to stop it and God forbid I turn off the television) then they are at least going to do it right. I mean… the game is SLUG BUG. Not Slug Passat. Not Slug Jetta. Not Slug *insert VW name here because I don’t know anymore*. Slug BUG. See how it rhymes? Genius. When playing the game, it is NOT “Punch Bug” or “Punch Buggy” or “Sluggy Buggy” or any other obnoxious take on the title. Slug. Bug. That is the game.
And thank God they stopped making the VW Bus, because my friend Nancy played a version of Slug Bug with the Bus, only she called it “Slam Van” or “Wham Van” or something like that, and it involved her whacking her man-sized knuckles on the side of your head at the very sight of one, which was more often than you would expect in the late-90’s, which was the last time she got me. I think I still have a lump on my head. I was not a fan of that game.
Back to Slug Bug.
Hank had basically started trying the new version of the game where you punch someone at the very sight of a Volkswagen. But, at 8, he really didn’t know what that meant. So he just started whacking his brother at the sight of every red car. I decided to give him a correction, without letting him know what I was doing. So there we were, driving along, when I reached into the back, gave him a good old-fashioned finger-burning smack on the leg, and yelled, “SLUG BUG RED!!!!!”
I went on to explain the game to the child. The RULES. It MUST be a Bug. You MUST say SLUG BUG and no other version of it. If you do it and it turns out not to be a Bug, I get to hit you back… twice. If you dodge out of the way, I get to hit you… twice now. Got it? He says he does. So here we go.
Then, apparently, there was a big sale at the Slug Bug store, and they were EVERYWHERE. Even saw an old one. The kid was developing a welt on his leg that likely could have gotten me in some serious trouble with child services. Growing up, as the youngest of 5, this was not my favorite game. But suddenly, I was queen! I mean, sure, I was queen because 1) I laid out all the rules and 2) my challenger is 8 years old, but still…. I AM WINNING!!! WOO HOO!!!!
Then he almost gives me a smack at the sight of a PT Cruiser (which, I think, we should be able to pull over and smack that driver around for simply purchasing such an ugly car). “Uh, uh, uh,” I warn him. “I get to hit you back twice if it’s not a bug.”
“I think,” the child says, “that I’ll take a minute to be sure it’s a bug before I yell it out.”
“Good idea,” I tell him. In my mind, I was thinking, “Silly boy. He’s going to take too long to consider when I, in the meantime, will not hesitate because I am the master of this game! I shall beat you at Slug Bug, oh wee one!” I was actually giddy at the idea of being able to hit my kid before he hit me. Ah, motherhood.
So we pull into a parking lot and right at the corner is a black one.
“SLUG BUG BLACK!” I yell as I deliver a smack to the back seat.
Then I continue to get cocky, removing both hands from the wheel so I can point my fingers in the air as I taunt the little boy. “I’m winning, I’m winning!!!!!”
I was so busy doing that, I didn’t notice the green convertible Beetle just a few stalls down from the black one.
“SLUG BUG GREEN!” the child yells, delivering a knuckle-protruding right hook to my arm.
Total dead arm.
What the hell did I just do?
Seems that in my excitement to have a chance to smack my child for no good reason, I forgot the rules — that he gets to hit back. And he is a boy. Sure, he’s small, but, um, boys are relentless. There’s no such thing as “not so hard” to a boy.
So we’ll put this one in my list of ideas that seemed awesome at the time. The scare game (holy crap did he get me the other day). And my inexplicable decision to teach him to pull his arm down to get trucks to honk on the highway. Which of course, he now does every time we are on the highway, which is almost every day, so on a regular basis I nearly poop my pants at the sound of an 18-wheeler blaring its horn behind me while my children giggle with delight in the back seat.
I think the proper term for the things I am teaching my children is called “What were you thinking?”
So the next time you see a red Honda with a mother and child punching each other from back seat to front, don’t fret. It’s just me teaching my children really stupid things.