Tag Archives: what the hell?

Slug Bug Stupid

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.

Sweet. Mother.

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.

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It’s a doggone shame

I am increasingly frustrated as this week creeps into the weekend.

As some of you may already know, on Tuesday, I spent five and a half hours in the emergency room with Hank. I was at work, Jim was out of town, and my mother-in-law was at our home with the kids. Hank was out back with the kids next door, and when they went home, as typical 7-year-olds will do, they both left their flip flops in the backyard. Hank decided to return them, and headed next door. The next thing my mother-in-law knew, he was crying and there was a lot of blood. He’s 8. You should never type the phrase “there was a lot of blood” when referring to an 8-year-old.

According to Hank, as he approached the door, Kirsten, one of the 13-year-old twins, came up to it (he didn’t know it was Kirsten though, they are identical twins, he calls them “Kayla-Kirsten”). But before she made it all the way to the door, her dog Max, a German Shepherd that I would guess easily weighs 85 pounds at least, pushed through the front door and went after Hank. Fight or flight is a human instinct. So instinct told him to run. When Max caught him after two steps, knocked him down and took a bite out of his side, instinct told him to fight. So he punched the dog. Max promptly ran away, Kirsten managed to wrangle him back into the house, and Hank ran home.  Kirsten apparently also managed to scream and cry loud enough that her parents, who were visiting neighbors just a few doors down, were home in a flash.

My mother-in-law took one look at Hank and put him in the car and called my cell. True story, I was exiting the McDonald’s parking lot with my coffee (yes, I was cheating on Dunkin Donuts, but I was at a meeting in Braidwood and that was all I had available, don’t judge me!). I looked all over as I drove (totally safe) and could not find the phone. It was in my pocket. So as I punched call back, I was chuckling, because well, my butt was ringing, and I couldn’t find the phone. Seems my ass is so enormous that even my ringing cell phone can get lost in there.

Let me tell you a little story: when someone tells you to meet them at the emergency room because they are taking your child there, you panic. You drive like a maniac, telling yourself to slow down. You reason — I mean, she’s DRIVING him, she didn’t have to call 911, it’s got to be okay. What if it was his face? Oh my God, I didn’t ask. How many stitches is he going to need? He’s so afraid of doctors and needles. What the hell happened? Who is up to bat? OH MY GOD I STILL HAVE THE CUBS GAME ON THE RADIO TURN IT OFF YOU ARE THE WORST MOTHER THERE EVER WAS EVER!!!!!!

I had to call my boss to tell her that I was headed to the hospital instead of coming back from my meeting. I think the conversation went like this:

Marney: “Pam… It’s me. Marney. Um…. um… My son, he was bit by a dog. I have to go to the thing. The place. St. Joe’s. I have to go there. I can’t write a story.”

Pam: “We’ll take care of it, go.”

Marney: “Oh, uh… ok.”

Thank God she has three kids of her own, she was able to translate my bizarre freaked out Mommy babble!

I did manage to get my head together in the next ten minutes to call back and give her a little information they needed that I hadn’t gotten done before my meeting.

When I got to the ER, the guy in front of me was travelling through the parking lot at  roughly negative 20 miles per hour. “It’s a god damn ER parking lot, hurry it UP!!!” I managed to yell out the window, though I am not sure how loud I was. Naturally, the lot was full. I parked near the front, only to find I was at a physicians only entrance and had to run around the building.

I got into the ER and gave them my name, and saw Hank sitting there with my mother-in-law and George. I ran over and asked him what happened, and got on my knees to give him a big old hug, really happy to see it wasn’t his face. At this point, as I reached out to hold him, I noticed that I had my McDonald’s coffee in my hand. Apparently I wanted that coffee, because I must have grabbed it as I got out of the car. Ha! As Hank started to tell me what happened, I made eye contact with another lady who was sitting there with her son. Dudes, she was totally crying and shaking her head listening to him talk. And she wasn’t the only one. A lot of parents in there with their kids or people waiting for whatever reason and even the obvious drug-seekers spoke to me as we waited. This super packed ER full of sick and broken people were all pretty pissed that my little boy had been bitten by a neighbor’s dog. By the time we got called in, I probably could have organized a small mob to hunt Max down.

Hours and hours later, his wound was clean and was not nearly as bad as it had first appeared. It was definitely gaping, but small. The doc told us that they wouldn’t stitch it, they don’t stitch animal wounds if they don’t have to because of the possibility of sealing in infection. Had it been on his face or somewhere where it would be cosmetically prudent to leave a smaller scar, she said she would have used probably just one or two stitches, so it obviously wasn’t the biggest, nastiest wound ever. In fact, if you look at it, you can see the outline of Max’s teeth. There’s a little puncture where his left canine broke skin, and the bigger wound is where he really sunk his teeth into the child.

So here’s where I get really frustrated. There’s not a lot I can do. Techincally, Hank was on their property (as far as we can tell). Had Max came at him in our yard, that would be a different deal. But this frustrates me so much because the only reason he was attacked in their yard and not ours is because he didn’t run fast enough. I don’t have any real recourse because a charging German Shepherd is faster than a surprised 8-year-old boy.

We called animal control, and they were out yesterday. The process involves getting the dog evaluated by a vet three times over the next few weeks. But that’s about it. He’s all registered and up to date on his shots, which is obviously a good thing. But every person I talk to, including extreme dog lovers, tells me that the dog needs to be put down. That if a dog attacks unprovoked, you have to put it down, because it will do it again. But they’re not going to do it.

They have told me several times now that they are getting rid of Max, but they are trying to find a shelter for him. Just this morning, the neighbor told me she hoped to have him gone by the end of the weekend. But until then we have no options for dealing with things like what happened last night — we sent the boys to the backyard to play, and Max, sitting at an upstairs window (the neighbors were not home) barked and barked at the children. He didn’t stop until I went up to Hank’s room, where his window faces theirs, and shouted, “Hey!” Max looked over at me, and, pardon my language, but I said, “Shut the fuck up.” He glared a little and turned and went away.

I don’t know what to do. Hank doesn’t want to play in the front unless I am out there. Jim would prefer both boys stay away from the neighbors all together.  It’s insanely unfair that my children, days away from summer vacation, are banished to the back yard because we just don’t know when the next attack is coming, and we literally cannot prevent it. And Jim isn’t even totally satisfied with that because he’s afraid Max could hop the fence. I want to believe that they really are going to get rid of him. But if they don’t, I imagine Jim is going to pre-spend next year’s tax return on a much larger fence, and one that goes around the front as well.

I’m open to suggestions. I’m just feeling so frustrated.

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Catch the fever? No thanks.

You know that feeling you get when you are embarrassed for someone? It doesn’t have to be someone you actually know. Hell, it doesn’t even have to be someone real. You can be watching a movie or a television show, and one of the characters does something so vomit-inducing and cringe-worthy that you actually find yourself covering your face. I don’t know where that emotion comes from. Maybe it’s fear that something that soul-shuddering could happen to you one day, or just guilt that you lack the power to make it stop. But for whatever reason, their actions make you want to flee.

That’s how I feel about this:

Sweet Christmas, people, what the hell is happening here?

Now, I realize, that as the mother of two young boys, I am blissfully ignorant about most things related to Justin Bieber here. Thank God for small mercies. So without knowing too much about him, I will say, he obviously must have some sort of talent. I saw him on American Idol, and I mean, he can carry a tune at least. And his dancing was fine, though he didn’t put on properly fitting clothes and kept pulling at his rump. And he played the drums, so…. way to go, kid?

But what the HELL is with the floppy hairdo? I don’t mean to be all sexist and stuff, especially on a boy young enough to be my son when I am in fact the mother of boys who I totally adore, but, when a boy’s haircut is actually referred to as a “hairdo,” doesn’t that make him kind of a… sissy (imagine a different word). And the worst part of it is when others follow suit. Like the teenagers at the gym who are also technically young enough to be my children but Lord knows I was a total angel in the 90’s so I would never have gotten pregnant that young because I was too pure.

***pause for hysterical laughter***

Anyhow, I look at these buff young lads, pumping their iron and doing a remarkable number of push-ups and somehow pulling their entire body weight up 8, 9, 10, 11 times with just their two little biceps. And WOW, that is impressive! But you know what’s not impressive? The fact that you STYLED YOUR HAIR before you came to the gym.

I wondered if this “hold the hairdryer directly behind your head until it stays put” hairdo had a comparable style from back in the day. My first thought, obviously, was the mullet. But it’s not. The mullet was universally accepted. You were just as likely to see it on a 40-year-old woman as you were to see it on a 17-year-old boy. Business in the front, party in the back was just as appropriate for little junior as it was for Grandpa. But the Bieber? I mean…

YOU. LOOK. STUPID.

It’s really that simple.

I think there were times in my life that I looked like this. It was that millisecond that took place right after my mother or father gave me a whack in the back of the head. That’s what young Justin looks like. Like he has been perpetually smacked in the back of the skull to the point that his hair is stuck there. I mean, somebody needs to get this kid a headband or something to get that nonsense OUT OF HIS FACE.

Jim asked me recently how we were going to prevent the boys from doing this to themselves. I replied that is was simple — we are their parents. We will cut their hair in their sleep if we have to. But more important, we will MOCK THEM until they cry if they decide that the “backward wind tunnel” is the way they want their heads to look every day.

I mean really, I hate to sound like an old fuddy duddy — after all, my parents never argued that rock n’ roll was a fad, so I am putting myself in a position even older than those ancient greasers — but for the love of spaghetti, child, GET A COMB. And then, just like your heiny, move it from front to back.

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