Feb 6, 2006

Monopoly, a Fable

Once upon a time, in the southeastern part of a commonwealth called Pennsylvania, there lived a brown-eyed boy named Jack. He begged his mother and father for the game Monopoly. Lo, they finally found it for him at Target, and gave it to Jack for Christmas. Not Junior Monopoly, nay. Real Monopoly. The kind where you are supposed to figure out 10% of your net worth because if you don’t, you have to pay $200 in income tax. The kind that taketh hours and hours and hours to play. (Fie, archaic verb endings that sneaketh into this passage!)

Upon unwrapping the package and claiming the small horse-riding figure for his own, young Jack begged whoever was able to join him in a game. Young William, his brother, was able only to throw the money and move everyone’s pieces but his own. Father (racecar) proved more than able and quite willing. Father still had the board memorized from his own youth, and nuances of strategy, and the cost of every property, nay almost every damn detail. He had the habit of saying, for example “That will be $22,” upon Mother’s rolling the dice.” “Shuttest thou up,” she requested. “I want to discover everything myself!” But I digress.

Jack, as Mother and Father soon learned, liketh not to lose. Upon losing, tears would roll down his face and Mother, yea, thought her heart would break. Upon winning, Jack would shout, “Let’s play another game!!” Hence, many a game transpired, upon the kitchen table, the dining room table, the living room rug, and finally on the floor in the new sunroom.

One day, Jack and Mother started a game in the new sunroom. Jack announced, “I’m going to buy Broadway and Park Place.” In due time, he landed on Broadway and the deed was done. Mother, having hast another engagement, enlisted Father to take her place. In a Machiavellian move, Father bought Park Place. Four turns later, Jack began to sob, “I—WANTED—PARK—PLACE!” The crying ensued for, yea, an eternity. Mother, whose heart was making loud rending sounds, rejoined the game. “Will you sell me Park Place?” asked the young Jack, big brown eyes shining and hopeful. “Well . . . I guess so. But for $400!” She felt tough and demanding. Park Place was now Jack’s.

Turn upon turn ensued. In a twinkling, it seemed, he had three houses on Boardwalk and two on Park Place. Sweat broketh out on Mother’s forehead every time her little hat rounded the corner by “Go Straight to Jail.” Soon, she landeth on Boardwalk. She mortgaged her railroads, Marvin Gardens, and Atlantic Avenue in order to pay. Next time around she landeth on Park Place. She beginneth to feel, most viscerally, the error of her ways. She mortgageth all her properties. She selleth all her houses. Upon paying the requisite $1400, there was but $52 in her possession. Saith Father, I can’t believe you sold him Park Place! You should have charged him three times that amount!”

“I give up,” sayeth Mother breezily, “You win.” “No, no! Let’s keep playing.” Mother trieth again, “I’m going to wash the sunroom floor before before we put the furniture in, so we need to put the game away.” “No! Let’s just finish in another room! The game can last longer!”

Desirest thou a moral for this story? I can’t really think of one other than “If thou shouldst sell thy son Park Place for a song, he shall whip thine ass.”


Scrivener said...

Yeah, I tried to post a comment a while back, and had figured it was just Blogger down.

Great post, really funny. I hate Monopoly. I always thought people were worse about the game because it's not points but money you play for. Brings out the worst in everyone.

Sugarmama said...

I'm just now getting caught up on my blog reading. But I really did love that Monopoly post! That's all I was gonna say, really. But I'm sure I had something much wittier in mind before!