Sunday, August 2, 2009

Punch Buggy Red--NO Punchbacks

Sometimes while teaching or talking with friends I make reference to Bible stories.  When teaching Lord of the Flies to my fifth and sixth graders this year, I referred to Cain and Able.  Just recently I dropped an allusion to Lot’s wife leaving Sodom and Gomorrah into a conversation I was having with a well-educated friend.  In both cases, the references fell flat and the listeners were left with quizzical expressions.

Whenever this happens, I blame the parents.  (As a teacher I am more-than-inclined to place responsibility where it squarely belongs—with parents.)  So, when my daughter Isabel heard a reference to “slug bug” and got the same quizzical look on her face, I stepped right in and caught her up to speed.  I grew up in Delaware and we called the game “Punch Buggy.”  Erica grew up in Montana and she called it “Slug Bug.”  Whatever you call it, the rules seem to be pretty much the same across the country.

From what I can tell, the game has been played in America for at least 40 years.  If you know how to play, then just remember when we next see each other, I owe you a punch.  If you don’t know how to play, follow this link and get started.


  1. Hey I am teaching the kids "slugbug" (though not the slug part yet) ... that's what we always called it in Iowa. Isaiah always gets them. He is every viligent.

    I guess the Sodom and Gomorrah bit is next. I don't talk much about the Bible because I was raised Catholic so I was taught to never read the Bible (only listen in Church) and Colin was raised nothing. We are going to a UU church now... so no Bible at all. Just peace and love.

    Don't give them too hard of a time. They might be UU!

  2. It is interesting. My father is an atheist and growing up we never went to church unless a neighbor asked us to go. The only Bible knowledge I know I have learned on my own and I do pretty well. I think if people don't know the core Bible stories and have not grown up in religious families it is ignorance due to a lack of curiosity. I was always curious about the Bible. I read it on my own on occassion when I was a teenager. I am a Deist and don't encourage my daughter to take up organized religion but having knowledge of the Bible, Torah, Quran or the Ramayana, for that matter, is always a good thing.