In 1989, Joanne Palmer left a publishing career in Manhattan and has missed her paycheck ever since. She is a mom, weekly columnist for the Steamboat Pilot & Today, and the owner of a property management company, The House Nanny. Her new book "Life in the 'Boat: How I fell on Warren Miller's skis, cheated on my hairdresser and fought off the Fat Fairy" is now available in local bookstores and online at booklocker.com or amazon.com.

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In 1989, Joanne Palmer left a publishing career in Manhattan and has missed her paycheck ever since. She is a mom, weekly columnist for the Steamboat Pilot & Today, and the owner of a property management company, The House Nanny. Her new book "Life in the 'Boat: How I fell on Warren Miller's skis, cheated on my hairdresser and fought off the Fat Fairy" is now available in local bookstores and online at booklocker.com or amazon.com.

Joanne Palmer: My son and I slug it out about the slug-bug game

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Note: There are two sides to every story. This week, my son Peter and I face off on the slug- bug “game.”

Parents of the world, unite against slug-bug slugging. I have had it.

Every time I drive in the car with my son, I am beaten up whenever we see a Volkswagen bug. A yellow slug bug counts for two punches; every other color mercifully warrants only one punch.

It was funny at the beginning. Now, it just hurts. Really. Hurts.

I practically am reduced to wearing a sling from all the attacks on my right shoulder.

Not to mention interfering with my driving.

We will be driving to school arguing about what radio station to listen to (he hates NPR; I like it) when out of the blue, whack! I am punched. Punched. There I am, minding my own business, just trying to shepherd one member of my flock safely into the school fold when I am assaulted.

Son: “Slug bug!” he screams with a victorious war whoop.

Mom: “Slug bug my butt bug! Quit hitting me! I have a hard enough time driving before I’ve had my 18th cup of coffee. Leave me alone. What if we have an accident over a silly VW bug?”

Our slug-bug “game” began with a commercial during winter that showed people, young and old, getting whacked every time they see a VW bug. One of the people in the commercial is an elderly gentleman who gets punched by his young grandson. Although the commercial is somewhat humorous, it isn’t so funny when the man doubles over in pain, which is how I feel most of the time. The slug-bug game is wildly popular with my son’s age group — 13 — but they don’t even drive. In the meantime, we parents are spending large portions of our paychecks on ibuprofen to deal with the pain of being punched.

And now my son’s version of the “slug-bug game”:

This is what happens: We are driving when I see a black slug bug and barely tap my mom. She then squeals in fake agony. I have had it with my mother over-exaggerating, and it is not just limited to slug bugs. It’s everything. It is ridiculous. Teenage boys are just honoring the age-old tradition of slug bugging. I take it easy. But there she is, arguing that there will be a bruise. Tonight at dinner, guess what? There is no bruise. She was threatening to charge $5 for ibuprofen because of her obviously fake pain, but I will simply not stand for this injustice. It is extortion. We must unite to stop parents’ fake complaining and lies. We must take back this game, for it is what our Founding Fathers would have wanted: freedom for age-old games.

Ha! Look who is exaggerating now. The fruit does not fall very far from the ol’ tree. My son has watched too many Jackie Chan movies, and since his hormones now are in overdrive, he is using some of his extra testosterone on his poor, sweet and hardworking mother.

And, talk about extortion — he wants a fee for writing one-half of my column!

All he is really doing is stalling on his homework.

All I speak is the truth. Of course I want a fee for doing half the work. And now you’re trying to blame it on hormones and a famous action hero. Pretty low, Mom. What I say is the truth about the freedom for the right to slug bug. I am Peter Bollenbacher, and I am responsible for the content of this message. Oh, and guess what: I get the final word because we are out of room.

The sad truth is the slug-bug game has worked. If I had the money, I’d buy a bug.

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