I hate the game slug-bug. The rules are simple. Someone thumps you, hard; usually a family member friend or neighbor sharing a car ride with you. Why? It is because you failed to see a Volkswagen Bug before they did. The unwitting, unwilling individual attacked is hit on the arm, leg, shoulder, back, head; really, any body part is an eligible target for the attacker. The first indication that game is on is when the victim gets the twhack.
Simultaneously, the attacker shouts-- quickly-- as if the two sentences are one word, "SlugBugYellowNoHitBacks!) (or whatever the color of the bug happens to be). It is the "no hit backs" that renders the prey with few resources, but to sit there victimized.
I do not know one person who plays this game by giving me a gentle pat, which would make the game bearable. No, it is as if my attacker wields a blow coiled with decades of rejection and feelings of inadequacy. Seeing a VW bug is the spark that ignites powder keg of cathartic release into my very surprised body part.
Hate is actually too mild a term to describe my feelings about this game, obviously designed by some class bully. I abhor this loathsome, malevolent, repugnant venomous, hostile “game.”
There are still people think they can play this game with me. But not for long.
When attacked, I contemplate my choices. Over time, I concluded there are three choices to deal with a slug-bugger.
I could resign myself to being the occasional victim to the attacks. No one is actually trying to kill me, or anything close to it. I could choose to accept that will happen from time to time. Aside from an occasional bruise, it is a victimless crime. However, I could not and cannot choose this strategy. Did I mention I loathe the game? I am a woman dedicated to its destruction. Gandhi-esque, I am not.
Play the game. Keep an eagle eye out for the next VW bug and deliver the punch and punchline with simultaneous aplomb. This strategy has definite drawbacks for me.
When I am in a car, I want to read or enjoy the scenery. On the other hand, I may want to be alone with my thoughts; or enjoy the company of my companions. I do not want to have the minivan equivalent of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict within its confines. Besides, I previously I mentioned I abhor this useless pastime?
This is the one I have chosen to use to bring about the destruction of this vile amusement. Unilaterally change the rules. Someone made these stupid rules; someone else can change them. I am that someone.
Now when the surprise attack happens to me, I turn to my attacker and hit them anywhere between 8-10 times and say, "I don't play fair." I have found that this has worked fairly well on all I know. It has been decades since anyone subjected me to it. My children, my husband, not even my parents, have tried to pull this car sport with me. They know that my reaction is out-of-bounds and not worth the fight.
I was wondering about using this strategy as a disability rights fight tactic. I am just not sure I am smart enough to know exactly how to change the rules to our favor.
What does it mean not to fight fairly against the threat of institutionalization, or unemployment, or access, or equality? What can we do to make the conditions so uncomfortable, so unbearable for the bullies that they lose their will to play and resign themselves to take the ride under the conditions we set forth?
Take the affordable accessible housing issue, for example. Not enough accessible housing? Slug-bug-thwap-no-hit-backs. Get on a waiting list. We can’t win with their rules.
We have to change them; take our blankets, urinals, and toothbrushes to that new housing authority office and use their lobby as a home. When that group gets cleared out, the next move in, then the next.
A few leaders, no matter how good, cannot negotiate for all the changes we need. This takes building a movement. We are all in it together.
Frederick Douglass said, “Power concedes nothing without a fight, it never has and never will.” Fight and the slug-bug rules will change.