Fwd: Re: perdiddle/padaddle - punch buggy

Erin McKean editor at VERBATIMMAG.COM
Wed Mar 6 19:39:26 UTC 2002

I also played "punch buggy" in the late 70s/early 80s.

A friend in Winston-Salem, NC had a variant called "Whack Truck" --
if you saw a "Mack" model truck/semi (and ONLY a Mack truck/semi),
you could whack the person next to you. For both, saying "no punch
backs/whack backs" was needed or else you would be walloped right
back. (I've never heard the "whack mack" from anywhere else, and, of
course, Mack Trucks are rarer than VW Bugs.)

In "punch buggy [color]," if, through excitement, bad lighting, or
dirt on the sighted vehicle, the puncher said the wrong color,
everyone in the car got to hit the mistaken person.

I'm sure of all this made the drivers of the carpools very, very tired!

-- Erin McKean
editor at verbatimmag.com

>>Punch buggy was a regular past time in our NJ/IN family in the 70's, and
>>that's how we said it. The phrase was "Punch buggy [yellow] - no punch
>>backs!" - making sure the other person didn't cheat and claim the same car.
>>Going through second-childhood college road trips in TX in the early 90's
>>however, I was informed that the "correct" phrase was "Slug Bug!"
>>Kathleen E. Miller
>>Research Assistant to William Safire
>>The New York Times
>>At 01:09 PM 3/6/02 -0500, you wrote:
>>>Adding to what Lynne M says below, in the Cleveland, OH area (late 60s) we
>>>also had "paduncle" (sp?) when a rear light was out.  Both this and padiddle
>>>allowed the seer to kiss his/her date (the typical setting in which this was
>>>Also, let me add the game "Punch Buggy", which my kids and others in CT play
>>>now, and have for some years.  If one sees an old VW Beetle, one says "Punch
>>>Buggy [the color of the car]", and one then has the "right" to punch another
>>>kid.  Typically, one says, "Punch Buggy red" (or whatever) and immediately
>>>punches someone lightly on the upper arm.
>>>Frank Abate
>>>-----Original Message-----
>>>From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU]On Behalf
>>>Of Lynne Murphy
>>>Sent: Wednesday, March 06, 2002 11:29 AM
>>>Subject: perdiddle/padaddle
>>>Actually, all this p[]diddle talk has suddenly made me remember...
>>>we had a variation of our 'perdiddle' that was 'perdiddle/padaddle'.  You
>>>said 'perdiddle' if the headlight was out, but 'padaddle' if one of the
>>>rear lights was out.  I think you still hit or kissed in any case.  Google
>>>search has nothing for 'padaddle'.  I'll check with folks from my childhood
>>>and see if I can get any confirmation.
>>>Dr M Lynne Murphy
>>>Lecturer in Linguistics
>>>Acting Director, MA in Applied Linguistics
>>>School of Cognitive and Computing Sciences
>>>University of Sussex
>>>Brighton BN1 9QH
>>>phone +44-(0)1273-678844
>>>fax   +44-(0)1273-671320

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