Punch Buggies, Invisability and Random Musings of 11 Year-old Boys

Punch Buggy Red! No punch back!
Image by Kevin Bedell via Flickr

I am missing my boy, who is on vacation this week with his dad. I am re-posting this, originally posted in July 2010.

Come home soon Nico!

There’s a commercial on TV which shows people punching each other when a volkswagen automobile drives by.  If I did not have a 11 year-old son I think the significance of this commercial would have been lost on me. You see, right now one of Nico’s favorite pastimes is yelling out “Punch Buggy” and hitting any innocent bystander in the shoulder, whenever he spies a Volkswagen Beetle.  It really grows quite tiresome, especially when driving around with a 5 year-old Sponge who absorbs everything his older brother says, and another 12 year-old girl, who thinks she is way beyond her 8 month younger step-brother. The “Punch Buggy” game borders on downright dangerous when one is transporting a van full of 11 and 12 year-old boy scouts from camp, while negotiating hairpin turns down a single lane mountain road.
Still, once I had safely descended the mountain and was able to eavesdrop on the conversation going on I really began to appreciate how funny, and how fleeting these moments are. After Nico and his fellow scouts finished telling me the story of how they completely fooled another boy scout troop into believing that they were from New Zealand because they spoke in (really terrible) accents throughout the camp session, N and company began humming portions of soundtracks from Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Jaws. This, of course, was a nice segue into a conversation on Invisibility. It went something like this:
Nico: What if there was such a thing as complete invisibility?
Boy Scout 1: Well, how would we know if anything was invisible since we couldn’t see it?
Nico: Well, we could see it in the pre-invisibility stage and the post invisibility stage.
Boy Scout 2: But what if it was always invisible?
Boy Scout 3:…with an invisible skeleton.
Nico: I think we would have to use x-ray vision goggles.
All: Cool!
One of the great things about being a parent who carpools is catching glimpses of your child as he relates to his peers. Sometimes its disturbing. Sometimes it reminds you of your own lost youth. Sometimes, when the child you are transporting is a boy it makes you realize how different boys and girls are. I am pretty sure that I have never heard Erica or her friends talk about invisibility and punch buggies. Then again, maybe the absence of the Punch Buggy game between Erica and her friends is a good thing!

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