Afternoon Despair

With a roll of the dice, fortunes are gained and lost.  Head in one’s hand despair and frustration give way to joy and exultant glee; yet even amongst the rubble of poverty, there is an opportunity to extend a helping hand and to show generosity of spirit…that is unless you’re related to me and stakes are Boardwalk and Park Place.  Yes, my friends, this is the unpredictable world that is Monopoly.

I tend to be one of those parents who is invested in encouraging my children to pursue topics of interest and know that this investment means a large portion of my own time will be spent pursuing this interest alongside them, learning something that I up to this point have been totally uninterested in learning about, but gradually as in all things, the more you learn, the more your interest develops.  I can credit my children’s interests in having an assortment of miscellaneous information that I never in my lifetime thought I would accumulate from an intimate knowledge of spiders (total terror has turned to respectful fear) to building a personal computer (where is the on button to is that video card compatible with that motherboard) to learning how far we can distance cycle (never thought the end of the block was so far to wow, where’d these muscles come from!).  All this and more, I can credit to my children’s various passions through the years.

There was, however, one rather long-lived passion that could render me into my own abyss of despair and that passion was Monopoly.  Never in my own personal experience was there a game that could occupy so much time and result in so many tantrums including my own.  My children also had a knack of requesting said game around lunchtime which basically meant that my entire afternoon was now gone to be spent in the clutches this game.  Still to this day, I don’t fully understand the lure of this game for my children…it was so long!  My suspicion was that it was the feeling of all that cold hard cash.  Nothing thrilled them more than a pile of $500 bills and the joy of holding your fate in their hands.

Sadly, I even tried to throw the game in order to maybe obtain a little time with my book while my children played together, but to my kids’ credit, they always tried to make sure everyone stayed in the game as long as possible with loans and forgiving of debts.  Nope, once you were in, you were in.  To this day, I think the developers of this game have a cruel sense of humor. 

Having passed through this stage (happily) with the lure of video games, imagine my horror at being requested to play this game at a recent visit to my sister’s followed by the realization that I will never be free of this game.  If it’s not nieces and nephews, it will be grandchildren.  Being the good auntie that I am, I sat down with a wave to my afternoon.  However, there was a silver lining.  Apparently, technology has indeed shortened our attention spans, and in an effort to stay current, the manufacturers of Monopoly have shortened versions of their game.  With the same tantrums, the game can now be zipped through in less than an hour and sometimes twice!  Hello, Junior Monopoly!

Whoever espouses the view that video games are the epitome of evil will be staunchly opposed by me. All I can say is Thank goodness for video games…now, where’s my book!

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