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Slug Bug: The Official Rules (Oh Yes, They’re Official)

WHEREAS it has been affirmed that we don’t generally condone violence in this family, and

WHEREAS it has also been acknowledged that in excess of 66% of this family is male, and that’s a lot of testosterone in the backseat, and

WHEREAS your mother knows a thing or two about picking her battles, and

WHEREAS your mother has duly observed her children’s insistence on the playing of this game and has duly worn herself out with the refereeing,

It is herein set forth, on this eighth day of June, Two Thousand and Nine, the official rules of the backseat game of Slug Bug, which shall be fully and legally binding until further notice; in other words, I’m the mom and I said so.

Let it be known that Slug Bug, for the uninitiated, is the game of riding in the car and noticing a Volkswagen Beetle, then calling out “SLUG BUG!” and slugging your neighbor in the upper arm. This bizarre recreational activity shall only be undertaken with the following regulations in place:

1. The first person to see the Slug Bug gets to call it and deliver the ensuing slug.

2. If one calls out a Slug Bug that was previously called out by a fellow backseat passenger, one must humbly submit oneself to two slugs from said passenger, as penance.

3. If you complain that you didn’t hear the Slug Bug so you couldn’t possibly have known it was already claimed, be advised that your mother will tell you to do a better job of cleaning out your ears.

4. In the event you call a Slug Bug, you must deliver the ensuing slug within five seconds, or you have entirely, fully forfeited all rights to claiming the Slug Bug. Your fellow passenger has full rights to attempt to evade your slug, and if he manages to do so, you are forthwith duly obligated to acknowledge your defeat and forfeit your slug; in your own fine words, too bad, so sad.

5. Be advised that slugs may not be delivered with excessive force. “Excessive force” is defined as a deliberate attempt to cause significant bodily discomfort. Excessive force will likely result in being barred from the game for an as-yet-undetermined amount of time. Your mother is the sole judge of what shall qualify as excessive force, and be assured that she knows it when she sees it. Her ruling on this (and all other things too, while we’re at it) is entirely, irrevocably, utterly final.

6. Slugs may be delivered only to the upper arm, period. See rule #5.

7. In the event that a Slug Bug is called on the interstate, but then your family stops at a rest stop, and then passes the same Slug Bug again 30 minutes later, the Slug Bug may be called again. This is due to the fact that putting the car in park cancels out all previously called Slug Bugs. If, however, your family goes to the drive-through window and does not put the car in park, all previously-called Slug Bugs shall stand, so pay attention.

8. Be advised that considering your preoccupation with this game, your mother makes every attempt to avoid driving past Volkswagen dealerships. But as it is sometimes unavoidable, be advised that a Volkswagen dealership counts as only one Slug Bug and is, in no way, an excuse for a backseat bloodbath. It is duly acknowledged, with a note of affectionate exasperation, that your father views this rule quite differently and seems to seek out Volkswagen dealerships with adolescent glee, perhaps even slowing down in front of them. If he conducts the Dealership Clause of this game with different rules, at a time when your mother is not in the car, then so be it.

9. It should be noted that your four-year-old little sister is not yet of legal age to fully understand the rules of the game of Slug Bug. It is further noted that she will sometimes call out “SLUG BUG!” when she sees a Toyota, a cow, or a fire hydrant. As allowances were once made for you when you were four, you must likewise make allowances for your sister (who is, in fact, merely attempting to imitate her big brothers). If you insist on playing the game in front of her, you must not excessively complain when she innocently and mistakenly slugs you.

10. Mom is exempt from being slugged, at all times, period. All guests riding in our backseat are similarly exempt, unless they have previously acknowledged their own family’s participation in the game of Slug Bug, with a full understanding of the rules.

11. Don’t make me pull this mini-van over. It just seemed like the right time to say that.

These rules are set forth with great affection by your mother, with the greatest of concern for your own physical well-being, and the greatest of consideration for her own mental health.

Signed, June 8, 2009,

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