Punch Cell-y

Punch Buggy

“I know,” I said to my daughter. “Let’s play a game like ‘Punch Buggy’ — only with cell phones.” We were driving back from a very enjoyable night out together, and it occurred to me that we could nightcap our fun with a variation on a car game we had played when she was a child.

Remember playing it when you were on a long drive and bored out of your wits? You’d call out “punch buggy” whenever you spied a Volkswagen Beetle on the road, shout out its color, and punch the arm of the one next to you — even if that someone happened to be a toddler? In those days, it would have been difficult to find one unbruised arm in your circle.

Fast forward a quarter century for an update to the game: Each time you see someone walking across the street or on the sidewalk without a cell phone in hand, scream out “Punch Cell-y” and slug the person next to you two times in the most tender part of the upper limb. If that person is visibly carrying, but not staring down at, a phone, you can thwack a car buddy once and feel pleased that yours was a partial win.

One thing we decided, though, was that spotting cell phoneless people in a group wouldn’t count; presumably these pedestrians would be engaged with each other — at least when they weren’t looking both ways before entering a cross walk. I haven’t decided if calling out the phone color should entitle one to an extra punch.