Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Punch Buggie No Punch Backs


How many times have you heard that in your lifetime? How many times have you said it?

I think I spent at least a decade pummeling my poor brother's arms during long rides in our family car. I still do it it to my kids - if I can get to them before they get to each other. Or to me. Only now, my daughter says, "punch buggie no punch backs". What is that? I think it originated with her best friend, who has two sisters. There is always threat of retaliation when you are smacking people on either side of you in a minivan.

I grew up in a house, which sat across the street from a field. This was the most awesome of things for a kid to have in front of their home: We made bike ramps, staged photo shoots and created an extremely unsafe tree house: It included a chaise lounge strapped to a branch with fishing line.

The problem was the traffic between home and the field. We lived on an impossibly busy street, where VW beetles sped by in abundance - my neighbors and I spent a great deal of time punching each other.

Some time between childhood and my teen years, I decided that being so thorough in my search for Slugbug victims was passe, which is a good thing, since my high school sweetheart drove a root beer brown, 1969 Volkswagon Beetle. I continue to be fascinated by this car, even though it is long gone. The sweetheart is still around. I once saw him fix a broken part on that car, with a rubber band. I'm not talking about using a scrunchie to keep the glove box closed. I mean a part under the hood. Like, a piece of the engine. With a rubber band. He was just like MacGyver - minus the mullet.

In addition to driving around town to catch concerts, eat at Carl's Jr. and hang out at Tower Records, the brown bug took a few trips through our field: Bouncing along molehills and skidding around corners, sending up a wall of dust. Whenever the car hit a bump, it would "catch air" and fly for a moment. It made my heart skip, watching my man hotdogging it around: Did you like that? I just had a birthday and I feel really, really old - so I thought I'd use the word "hotdogging".

There was one thing better than our deserted field and all the fun we had in it. Two words:


I guess those are numbers.

On the other side of the field was a 7-11 and it was a place that we loved to frequent with regularity. I probably bought enough Tootsie Pops there to fill an Easter basket for every child in Rhode Island. We also used to buy Pop Rocks and Jolt Cola. I always though Pop Rocks were a little creepy - they made it feel like something was crawling around in your mouth. But that Jolt... Sometimes I wish I had a twelve pack in my fridge. When the kids have been up in the middle of the night and it feels like I got around six minutes of sleep, Jolt sometimes comes to mind. I know, I know: Red Bull is what us grown-ups are supposed to drink. But Jolt actually tasted good and how can you resist a beverage with "all the sugar, twice the caffeine" for a slogan? I wonder how those poor teachers got through their mornings, with students imbibing crack-like, carbonated liquid sugar for breakfast? They were probably drinking it, too...

I used to be able to talk superfastlikethis, after downing a couple of cans.

If my mother realized that she was missing an ingredient while cooking dinner, she would just send me to my favorite purveyor of sugary goodness. I'd pick up a jar of mustard. And some Laffy Taffy. And some Hot Tamales. And Fun Dip.

The 7-11 is still there, but you can't get to it easily from my parent's house, anymore. In the 1990's the field was scooped up and turned into part of the highway. Up went the sound proof walls and now it would take more time to hike to your Slurpee than it would be worth.

It was fun, while it lasted...

October, 1985

Yesterday I went to seven eleven to get hot-dog-buns for my mom (really exciting, haw!) Well on tuesday, it seemed like my house was haunted. we go to the front door and you can hear the television, when I opened the door I saw a flash and it was off. we herd footsteps and someone sliding on the loose carpet in the hall so we ran out to Erica's house. We got to her house and we played soccer...

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