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In Celebration of Slugs

July 2, 2016


Your Agent Meggsy (YAM i am) was enjoying a morning walking meditation in nature at a birthday retreat near the Pacific Coast south of San Francisco. Behold, what have we here? A slug! A big slug! A banana slug! We drew closer, intrigued by the fascinating intensity of this big beautiful slow-sliding slug.


Have you ever watched a true slug in action? They are miraculous, gently, slowly, steadily moving forward. So vulnerable. What is their role in nature? How do they survive, being such a giant treat exposed like this, moving so slowly? Surely there is some secret brilliance to their existence.

As we marveled at the slug for some time (during which friend slug made many centimeters of earnest progress), YAM realized that slug is often used as a derogatory epiphet. A “slug” is a term slung at a “slow, lazy person” perhaps because they constantly let others down. But whyever wouldst one malign the slug, who is clearly doing a lot of work here, out of frustrations in these heady human affairs?

Why, for that matter, why would we call someone a “bastard” to say they are wilfully harmful? Is there really any link with people who don’t know who their father is?

And what about all those body parts that are equated by anthropomorphized anger’s assignment? Is there really something so despicable about the anus? And so on for a thousand terrible terminological temper tantrums ad terminum.

Pondering this I peered over yon slug and noted some droopy flowers hanging above, truly a tiny stage set of languid torpor. Woe be to flowers that don’t perk up and entertain us!


Rather than calling someone who lets us down a slug, we might more accurately (but not more moreso) call them a DROOPY FLOWER in grave enmity!!! ARGHHHH! DROOPY FLOOOOWERZZZ!!!

Yet it was so green, and so natural, even this seemed a bit…comical. And ineffective.

Now true, there are those who are fearsomely – phobically – phantasmagorically – terrified of slugs. Particularly big ones like these dear banana slugs. And at the other extreme, there are those who make much of them (such as the Banana Slug mascot at UCSC).

For me today, just to appreciate the peaceful, gentle, determined spirit of the slug exactly as it is, will do just fine, thank you.

Besides, they’re probably reducing carbon emissions — next up, air lifting beavers to save the climate!


[Update May 1, 2018: To see magical slugs-in-action check this video piece: ]

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