Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Game Of Monopoly

     The reason the game of Monopoly does not permit borrowing is that the game would never end. Not only would it never end, it would soon become intolerable. Those with all the property would only become richer, while those without would only go further into debt. There would be no joy to be derived from the game by the losers and no joy either for the winners unless they had some pathological need to acquire money and property beyond measure. Even so, they would require a little bit of sadism in order to derive any measure of enjoyment from such a game.
     Now imagine that each time you were to play Monopoly that you carried your previous score with you. And not you only but your score would be passed down to your children and grandchildren so that if you were a loser your children would be forced to move their thimble across a board where all the property is already owned (the winner’s kid would have the racecar, which was bargained away from you when you landed on Boardwalk with a hotel on it).
     Who would call such a game fair? Who would wish to play such a game? And for those in perpetual debt, who would blame them if they overturned the board, scattering houses and hotels everywhere?
     Of course the Chance cards would be rigged too, so that the one in debt would have to shoulder the burden of the taxes. The card would read “Pay $500 in taxes” but it would have an asterisk next to it stating that property owners could deduct $50 for upkeep for each building owned.
     The loser would spend a lot of time in jail. Indeed, that might be a place of safety for him, a place where for a brief span of time they wouldn’t have to worry about racking up further debt. The loser wouldn’t really care about keeping out, wouldn’t worry about landing on the Go Directly To Jail square. Free Parking would be his only hope. The property owner, of course, would never have to worry about spending any real time in jail. Sure, he could get sent there, but he’d always have enough to buy his way out the next roll.
     Every lap around the board, the loser would be reminded of the time when he was just starting out with a little house on Baltic Avenue. Sure, it didn’t seem like much at the time but it was all he really ever needed. Of course, there’s a motel on there now, but it’s not his own, and the price is rather steep. Still, one has to rest somewhere eventually, even if it drives him further in debt.

     Happily, those are not the rules of the game of Monopoly. If they were, nobody would want to play. It would be the dumbest game ever.

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