Noah punches me in the arm. His strike is light, the appropriate amount of force applied when hitting your, ahem, mother. But still, I was annoyed.
How many times do I have to tell you? I AM NOT PLAYING THAT GAME.
“I know,” Noah says with a grin. “But I am.”
The game is question is a variation of vintage Punch Buggy. When I was a kid in the 70’s, we would punch the person closest to us everytime we saw a Volkswagen Bug, calling out the color at the same time: “Punch Buggy Red!” Now that the number of Bugs on the road has dwindled to the point that the game would be non-existent, the boys have taken to punching each other (and me if I’m in range) anytime they see a Volkswagen of any kind. And if there weren’t enough Volkswagens in our town to make this game truly annoying, they have added a caveat: If you see a Prius and call it – YOU get punched. So you better run. I am actually okay with this rule – if you are stupid enough to call “Prius” you deserve to get nailed.
Still, the game wreaks complete havoc on any semblance of peace in the car or walking down the street. What better way to instill fear and paranoia in our children then to allow them to inflict random pot shots on each other with out warning? This was the point I was prepared to make as I tried to invoke a complete prohibition on this stupid game when a realization came upon me.
Aren’t most childhood games rooted in fear, paranoia, and disappointment?
Seriously, think about every game you played as a kid and try to find ones that do not involve being chased, abused, frightened or set up for complete failure. To wit,
Musical Chairs – I’m still twitching from the panic inflicted on me at every 2nd grade birthday party.
Truth or Dare – You have a choice between complete mortification or… wait for it… complete mortification.
Chutes and Ladders – Why any company would invent a game, guaranteed to devastate a four year old who spent his entire emotional wherewithal to get to the top of that board only to be sent back to the very beginning with one roll of the dice is beyond me.
Dodge Ball – Do I even have to elaborate?
Monopoly – A game where winning requires the cold heart of Donald Trump
Hide and Seek – The opportunity to scare the bejesus out of someone is equal to the opportunity to totally forget about someone else. Happy Happy Joy Joy.
Building Card Houses – Not structurally sound, people!! No matter where you set up, it is going to end very, very badly.
Even when I played “house” with my best friend (LK), there was always some tragedy we needed to overcome. We were orphaned or poor or trapped in a storm or had an evil babysitter. Left to our own devices, even we leaned towards the painful and morose side of play.
I think its time that we commit ourselves to supporting those childhood games that inspire our youth, instill confidence, and promote love. Tomorrow I an going to recommend the following changes to the Punch Buggy rules:
When you see a Volkswagen, instead of punching the person next to you, you have to give them a heartfelt compliment. My hope is that this version will take hold OR it will make the game so unappealing to the brothers that they will stop playing altogether.
Either way – I win.
Have a fun-filled weekend MoB readers!