Shall we play a game?

It’s summer in Texas. Which means it is hot. And some days it is too hot to go outside and play. So the short ones, being bored, want to do something with you to pass the time. The topic of Monopoly comes up.

And I? Am ALWAYS the dog. Sorry kid.*

Ah, yes. The beloved Parker Bros. classic game of finance and real estate trading. What could be more fun than sitting around the table with your family and playing this time honored game?

I can tell you unequivocally that I would rather have my head waxed than play Monopoly with my children.

It’s not that I don’t value the time with my kids. I do. I love to play Sorry and Chess and Five Card Draw UNO and all kinds of stuff with them. But Monopoly? Only when I can drink. Which I can’t do in the afternoon.

On the surface, it seems like an awesome game to play with them. I mean, you get to work in a math lesson at the same time you play a game! It pushes all sorts of development buttons for me. But after that, its appeal wanes considerably.

Ok, Mel, you may ask. What makes playing Monopoly with your kids so unpleasant that having your quite abundant tresses forcibly ripped out of your scalp using hot wax seem more appealing?

First off, it’s a long game. And after about an hour of this, most ten year old boys start to lose focus. So do most adults. Because it takes about thirty minutes to really get things going, the slow pace makes young ones antsy. And when they start getting antsy, they start getting goofy. Goofy has no place in Monopoly.

Let’s continue with the fact that Monopoly itself brings out the worst in people. If you’re winning, you gloat. Don’t deny it. You get all excited when you get “bonus cash” from Chance and Community Chest. You do a little happy dance when you get to collect rent. And of course, when you have to pay rent, you end up saying something like “It doesn’t matter. You paid me twice that last turn”. Do not even try to tell me that you are different. A Buddhist monk turns into raging a-hole while winning at Monopoly.

And then there is the other side: the poor sap who is losing. This is the person who has to listen to the gloating of the person on the other side of the table. The person who, until a few minutes ago, was a normal human being. Now, they have to be on the receiving end of “Monopoly Blood Lust”. It’s not pretty. Admit it: You have contemplated the taking of a human life when you are losing at Monopoly.

Of course the best part is, and this only happens when you get to play the complete game, when the tide inevitably turns and the poor sap begins to win. And is this person gracious and magnanimous? No. Of course not. They return the gloating tenfold. Then the other party starts to feel bad and begins to contemplate great acts of violence to their supposed friend/loved one. This is when the game ends in my house because of some pre-arranged playdate, much to the chagrin of the person who is about to open up a can of whoop-ass on the other players.

We call this “Quality Time.”

So, the next time I hear one of the Things say, “I’m bored. It’s too hot outside. Can we play Monopoly?” I will sigh deeply. And suggest a nice game of Global Thermonuclear War** instead.

And to answer your unspoken question: Yes, I lost. But only because we didn’t finish the game. I had all the RR’s, utilities, the greens, yellows, oranges, and light purples (with houses, no less!). And a few other random cards that did not allow the other one to have more than three monopolies. It was only a matter of time. But since he had more cash at the end….

Bitter? What? Did you really think I would lose all sense of proportion while playing a simple board game with my darling child? I thought you knew me better than that.

Oh.

I guess you *do* know me. 😉

*And yes, I actually used my nifty mostly new camera to take this picture thankyouverymuch!

**you get a gold star for today if you get this

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