Spot the Bug

Alison Morris - March 4, 2008

I drive a silver 2002 VW Beetle, which I’ve dubbed "The Notorious B.U.G." (or "Buggy Smalls"). For brevity’s sake, though, I often refer to "her" (I believe my car’s a girl) as "Nory" which is sort of derived from "Notorious" but really just reminds me of the beloved main character of Nicholson Baker’s The Everlasting Story of Nory, whose comic adventures remind me not to take Boston drivers so seriously.

Why am I telling you all this? Because while my B.U.G. may have a superior name, it has indeed been bested. By whom? THE ERIC CARLE MUSEUM OF PICTURE BOOK ART!! They’ve got their own Bug for museum outreach purposes, and it looks like this:

How great is that?? Oh, for a car that looked this fun! (Or at least for a car with a left front hubcab that does not fly off at the mere sight of a pothole….)

The Bug-related info. on the Eric Carle Museum’s Web site says: "The next time you Spot the Bug, send an email noting the date, time, and location… to receive a free Family Pass to the Museum and the chance to win other great bug prizes."

I think this is a great idea, but I do admit to being shocked that a museum concerned with the education of young children is actually encouraging violence. YES, encouraging violence!! I say this, because as the driver of a Bug I can tell you that kids haul back and punch one another when they see me driving by or stopping at a light behind the family wagon (more often an SUV these days). I have watched countless children’s mouths form the words "Punchbug silver!" a half second before someone in their posse gets walloped. Yes, it is a sad (but rather entertaining) fact that we Bug drivers are the cause of many a bruised sibling.

I don’t know if the museum Bug bears a moniker other than "the Bug" but it’s easy to see why they wouldn’t have wanted to dub it "The Very Clumsy Click Beetle" or pattern it in that fashion. My last car (before Nory) was called Nancy, after Nancy Drew and Nanci Griffith (whose music played often on my car stereo during my college days). What about you? Does your car have a name? (And if so, do you know what that says about you…?)

8 thoughts on “Spot the Bug

  1. Gayle Carline

    I used to own a 1960 Ford Falcon named Mary Lou. She was faded red, thoroughly banged up, the gas gauge didn’t work, and the window fell out of the track every time you closed the door. What did it say about me? That I was broke.

  2. Anne

    I drive a silver Echo named Keiko. The first letter in her license plate is a K. The car looked feminine and I picked a Japanese name because she’s a Toyota. I’ve always named my cars. I can’t really tell you why. My eight year old, Emily, and I are avid Punch Bug players, but it is anything but a violent game! We have rules about where and how hard you can punch. Being fastest is the objective. Emily is in the process of naming all the Bugs we see in our daily drive to work/school: Creamy, Cranberry, and so on. Most of her names are color inspired. My first car was a ’67 bug. I called it the Big Red Rock Eater…

  3. David J. Burt

    This is a neat idea. I find it interesting that you call it “Punchbug.” My kids always called it “slug-bug.” Since our youngest is only nine and his older siblings have moved out of house, I’m the one, at age 47, who gets slugged everytime he sees a VW. For some reason, its okay to slug Dad but not Mom.

  4. Cassie

    My first car was named Fluffy. It was a silver/white Infiniti, named because it looked like the silver lining you always imagine in clouds. I miss that car!

  5. Stacey

    I drive a very cute and small Chevy Aveo which just happens to be an interesting shade of orange, my dad started calling it Pumpkin and the name stuck. My friends and I used to play “Slug-Bug” but we’d punch the roof of the car rather than each other. 🙂

  6. heather

    I named my blue beetle “Boo-Boo.” It earned the nickname after two fun months of electrical problems. My four-year-old niece calls my car Sally, for unknown reasons…

  7. Becky

    My mom drives a Dodge Grand Caravan, one of the gold ones that seemed so rare while at the dealership but suddenly are everywhere once you bought it… anyway, you can tell THIS car apart from the sea of gold Grand Caravans because she has an S.P.C.A. spay/neuter license plate (Bob Barker would be so proud) and a Brake for Moose bumper sticker (we live in PA, which as far as I can tell is devoid of any moose or moose-like specimens.) We named her on a family road trip- and I haven’t the slightest idea why- Minerva.

  8. ShelfTalker

    You all are inspiring me to share a story that’s somewhat related to the “naming” theme: My friend Elaine was a nanny for an adorable 3 year-old who was quite fond of a certain PBS television show that was (and still is) quite popular. At one point she was taking him out for the day in her mom’s S.U.V., which in coversation with him she referred to as “the Explorer.” Her young charge was overwhelmed with excitement as he asked in a shaky voice, “Is this DORA’S CAR????”


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