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I really love being a slugger

March 15, 1998

Terry Talbert

I was salivating in anticipation of this year's garden slugfest when El Nino, or a Canadian cold front, or whatever it was struck Little Eden I and II. And now I'm sitting around with a can of beer that has no purpose.

Slugs, which dine on tender plant shoots, love to imbibe. That's how you catch them. Let 'em soak up some suds from a dish, and then get rid of their detestable, soggy little bodies.

My friend who communes with nature told me the slimy creatures are so addicted they slither off to their own little AA meetings on a regular basis.


The ones I have must not be following the 12 Steps very well, judging by their continuing appetite for beer. I mean, they aren't even picky. Rolling Rock. St. Pauli Girl. Doesn't matter. They'll drink it.

Actually, they immerse themselves in it.

I've never tried to take the blood-alcohol level of a sodden slug, but imagine one could easily be convicted of driving while intoxicated, if it could indeed drive.

I'm personally glad slugs can't get behind the wheel. That would be bad. As it is, the fact that they have no feet doesn't deter them from making their rounds in the garden. I find their little glistening trails meandering between the coral bells and the XXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXX each morning.

Yessiree, they make tracks, those little suckers do.

I hate them. It is, therefore, that I look forward to the advent of spring. I revel in the thought of popping a few can tops, filling a few dishes and watching them crawl inexoriably to their death and that great watering hole in the sky.

Usually, that winter dream of slug slaying comes true in the spring.

But, alas, this year is different.

Just as the slugs' meal was being set with the sprouting of new life from the warm ground, the cold snap struck.

I fear that even when the thaw comes, the slugs will find slim pickins in the wilted leaves and mushy flower buds in my Little Edens.

They may even slide away across the alley to greener pastures, and deprive me of the perverse joy of seeing them lolling lifelessly in the beer dish.

It has occurred to me that I might be addicted to slug-sloshing, or even worse, slug-bashing. (There's probably a law against that.)

My friend who chats with wildlife said she was very concerned about my attitude toward slugs. She said my aversion to them is unnatural.

"Speak for yourself," I told her.

"Even slugs have to eat," she said.

"Not my plants," I said.

That was when the light bulb went on in my sick mind.

"You know, I was just thinking I might be able to profit from the little suckers," I said. "How does a Slug Sub sound. How about Slug Souffle? Or Sauteed Slug with Fresh Spring Greens. See the irony in that? Huh?!"

I chuckled then. It was a mistake.

My friend ran from my house in wide-eyed horror, and it wasn't at a snail's pace. She said she was going to the woods to meditate on the condition of my soul.

I felt bad about that. Maybe she's right. Maybe I do have a problem. I wonder if there's a 12 Step club for slug-obsessed gardeners. They have them for drug addicts and sex addicts. There ought to be one for people addicted to pickling defenseless invertebrates.

If you hear of one, let me know.

In the meantime I'm going to continue to slug it out, as soon as the weather breaks.

Just don't tell my friend.

Terry Talbert is a Herald-Mail staff writer.

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