Growing-up in Santa Cruz meant I was indoctrinated early into the competitive thrill of one of my favorite care ride boredom busters: Punch Buggy. This is the game where you see a Volkswagon bug, yell out the color and the associated phrase, and then gleefully sock your fellow passengers. Plus you keep a running count to assert your car calculating dominance.
My cousin Kimba taught us Punch Buggy and we were instantly smitten. We used to rack-up thirty or forty points in just one trip to the grocery store. Who wouldn’t love punching their brother three dozen times?
So James seems to have introduced the boys to this game over the past few months… unfortunately cementing it as “Slug Bug.” Tomato, Tomahto. I’m pretty sure there is nowhere in the world with more VW bugs than Santa Cruz in the late eighties. Well maybe Cuba? Definitely not Germany. And certainly not Atwater, California.
The boys might just know every Slug Bug in SLO. They know which ones go from which house to “their work” and home again. And when. There’s the modern yellow Slug Bug on our road, and the hidden vintage red Slug Bug parked secretly between two sheds. On Chorro alone, four consecutive side streets produce 1 Slug Bug Red, 2 Slug Bug Whites, 1 Slug Bug White and a Slug Bug Green. It’s a valuable lesson in negative numbers when you try to beat Mama by yelling out before establishing visual confirmation. In December there was a Christmas window display featuring a silvery Slug Bug. And at our favorite toy store, I racked up three in a row boxed against one wall.
The very best part of all this competitive car counting?
Jake and Nate don’t know what slug means.