Sunday, April 1, 2012

Monopoly and other "Bored" Games-Last Post

Before you begin reading my LAST post on flopbott, I wanted you to know this post took me a month to write! Yes, readers I actually spent that much time trying to write this thing! It has awakened me to the fact that posting can be time consumming. Asking people to borrow their pics through email. Trying to think. Putting down on "Paper" fodder, typos, mis-spellings, and other embarrasing things for a number of people that are probably just my family members.... sigh. I will continue to write! Only in my beloved journals, where their is NO criticism! Until years later, when I am long gone and my posterity or whoever finds these books, tubs filled of folders of ideas for books, and picture albums covered with earth. Like the ancient artifacts found in tombs, those people will appreciate and try to decipher my language! Enjoy my last post!!!!! I feel like a free woman! Vaya con Dios, Reader! Thank you soooo much for being here! Ahhh... no more amateur picture taking from me.... aren't you glad?????

Back to the post......

"So how do you know when the game is over?" J asked innocently.
I sat on the unforgiving hard floor leaning against the couch, with my now numb legs folded, I began to develop a Grinch-ish plan to end the game prematurely.

I know, I'm mean. But the game was getting.... difficult to endure.

Good question !! I told him as excitedly if he'd won the prize for the beauty contest on a chance card.
"It [game length] varies."

My mind re-hearsed all the games I'd played in my life time. The game, around the kitchen table, that went deep into the night. Coca-Colas keeping us up and Padre winning most of the time. Probably cause we kids and relatives forfeited. -I can count all the times I've played on two hands. I mean FINISHED on two hands.

When J. had asked this question we'd only rounded the board a handful of times. We had not even gotten to the point of accumulating a set of owning three titles of any color signifying we could start to put houses and eventually hotels on our property!
(one can only imagine what happened to this game piece now rendered crippled like many other race horses. But ya can't toss it! It's part of the game!!!!!!)

J. had roped me in for the game of Monopoly which seemed like it was within a few short hours after I'd gotten out of the hospital.
Perhaps he was thinking it would be a nice, low key board game; a soothing enough activity for me to do with him- Like the action of someone who is sitting on a couch with long knitting needles feels as she magically turns that yarn into a soft afghan or computer! (there are some AMAZING things people creatively whip up these days with only yarn, paper and material. And making millions it seems.)

Inside, I had winced at the thought of adding, subtracting, and figuring whether I should pay the flat fee of 200 for the Income tax rate that hits you right after you pass go, or count all my money and pay the 10% tax amount instead. Me being the tight wad, I chose to count.

In an effort to convince me to play, Jaden told me that his teacher said the game would help him with math.

Genius boy; playing his mom like that- as if waving the possibility of helping his math skills in front of her as if it were a girl scout cookie. (the coco-nutty ones.)

So while my veins still pulsed with the high doses of IV prednisone, I started in the game. Under these circumstances, Monopoly is pure torture. In order to keep playing I tried to think of people in worse circumstances than me. Like injured vets; how they feel when they have had a brain injury and have to do all kinds of re-hab to simply re-learn language, motor skills and deal with PTSD.
I thought of a guy my age who was in a motor-cycle accident, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down.

But seriously, prednisone has an odd effect with numbers in my brain. Almost causes a dyslexia type situation, turning around numbers or swapping them out for others. It is not fun; makes math more painful than it was to begin with. However, I'd never had it as bad as some. So when I have complained about these "side effects" to Madre at one point she pointed out: "Well, now you know how people with learning disabilities feel!" DOH!

Guilted into the game I picked out the silver thimble and was hoping for a 'go to jail' card whenever possible.
(These illustrations were used by Parker Brothers before they settled on the Rich Uncle theme. Cards shown here are from the collection of Dana Fred Ryman.)

To lessen my pain, and maybe make him more tempted into embezzling, I put him in charge of being the banker.

So when this question of ALL questions fell from his lips, I went into an in depth explanation of the game!! AND I added some of my own. New, updated rules. That could actually be on par with the financial times we are going through right now. All in the hopes that he'd get bored and ditch the idea.

"Well, Son, if I can't pay you, I have to sell my Electrical Company, my stretch of light blue properties before the jail house- they aren't worth much so don't get too excited, my houses, etc." and as I said this I turned the cards over to show him the value of each. We've played this before but he needed a reminder.)

To simplify it in layman's terms I summed up: "It's whoever goes bankrupt first." I said flatly. He was cool with this and nodded his head as if he understood what I was explaining.

"But guess what?" I said in greasy lemon car salesman kindness, "After that, we keep going around in the circle and any time I land on Board Walk, St. James Ave. or some of your other properties that you have a hotel/house on- you have to pay the bank for me to stay there.!!"

His countenance fell; he started to look at me in disbelief and went to grab the directions.)I am gonna burn those directions the next time we need one.

"I will be broke" I appealed to his sympathies; "And I'm your mother!" I ligitimtilized as he grabbed the rule pamphlet from behind my back for verification.
"Time to eat!" merciful Madre hollered from up in the stairwell. I breathed a sigh of relief to escape this physical therapy exerice in parenthood.

Reading the instructions J hollered: "We'll be up, after we finish this game!!"

"Do you enjoy starving??" I asked horrified.

"No." he said as if I was acting ridiculous.

"Do you realize that this game could take all week to play? WITHOUT the new rules I added in horror. Then I asked if he enjoyed starving. (Wikipedia says it can be a 2-4 hour game but that is hogwash.)

"This game taking up to a week to finish, could very well happen!"
(picture drawn and developed by David Mott, used with permission! Gracias! Go to to see more of his clever illustrations! They are great!)

Reluctantly, he agreed to go have some dinner but hounded me before I could swallow the last bites of mashed potatoes and slices of roast beef. Afterward, and here I mean after that day when the game didn't end, he'd run home from school and, instead of asking to go play with a friend, begged to play the game.

AFter 6 days of Monopoly laying on the family room floor, I decided it best to move it up off the ground so baby nephew wouldn't choke on a game piece or roll over the board, or the money and pieces lost. Even though everything is "saved" on top the desk in his room I still find a floating dollar or ten. Wish it was real money floating around. This tactic of re-lacating is to gaurantee that I find Monopoly money strewn throughout the house for at least the next ten years.

To my relief this took his mind off of "finishing" the game. And it allowed me time to heal from the horror of it all- the game, not the hospital stay, to post of his experience, and do some mindless research on the game's anti-capitalistic origins. (thanks!!).

Despite the possible tears that could well up in my eyes as I thought of J. having to go through life in the future, playing Monopoly in "newer ways"- besides the way I introduced to him, such as on an Ipod with a friend in Australia, or online using Google Maps to help him put Donald Trump-ish buildings on streets that he can see from the satellite- I was still roped in by my child's physcial therapy treatment program.

Instead of beggging to finish it, he now begs to play chess.
My sympathy for his future life with the "game" slowly ebbed away.

Stop here if you are bored and think a post should be no longer than 45 minutes.

But my research leads me to share the last tidbits of capitalizing shock!!!

I learned that the game was initially concepted by a brillaint Quaker teacher. A woman by the name of Elizabeth. She developed the game to teach 'plain folks' and the children about land ownership. It turned into a folk game; Quaker friends, who all made the "game board" by copying it onto linen or oil cloth. (How clever and industrious!)They (meaning her and her pals used names of places around Atlantic City, where most of them lived.

They used crayons to make their own game boards and even made it a point NOT to share it, as a way to beat capitalism. The friends felt it an "honor to keep it private". Ms. Maggie patented the real estate game in 1904 under the title: "The Landlord Game."

She married, moved and added names from her new location and eventaully had the game marketed. It went on to have three different names.

Now enters the real interesting part:

A man by the name of, Darrow, learned to play it from one of Lizzie's circle of friends. It was the Depression, he needed cash, his wife was ready to have baby # 2. Imagine the stress! He and his wife talked about better times... like down at MarvEn Gardens playing that 'ol folk game.

Ms. Maggie's game gave him a great business idea! He asked a closer friend of Lizzie's for the rules to be written down, made some adjustments- such as allowing you to buy rather than "rent" the land, and took it to Parker Brothers!

They thought it had some major problems 5o somthing. - one being the fact you just went on and on and on playing it, and PB thought fam games should be no longer than 45 minutes, and, finally, kids might not like it.

So Darrow went to his printer friend and he got it out there no matter what! He was poor, people! The rest is history. (The Monopoly Book by Maxine Brady) Word got back to PB about this awesome game and they called Darrow, bought it and paid him royalties.

Lizzie's goal of teaching that landlords had the upper hand on enterprise, got lost in the exact 180 goal of Darrow's which was to buy/sell for profit and eventual monopolize. Both wanted the game to be for amusement. (Summary of what was written in this article: The Monopolization of MonopolyLizzie J. Magieby Burton H. Wolfe
©1976 The San Francisco Bay Guardian.)

Good thing there are those lawyers! Litigation between the original game owner of The Landlord took up with PB and the truth about Darrow was brought to light and that Elizabeth J. Maggie was the true brain trust of this idea of a game.

I was too tired to see who got what money. Darrow died a millionaire. Lizzie, being a Quaker, I assume forgave him... who knows! If you find out, tell me.

Oh, and one more thing! Happy April Fool's! I am gonna be a fool and keep bloggin! Cause I LOVE it! (I had to get someone today! Sorry if I scared the living daylights out of you, had you thanking the heavens that I finally stopped, or wondered if I was off my rocker! You have to be a bit rocked, tho., to blog. But I have the guts for now!

See you soon

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