Ladies and Gentlemen, children of all ages — but preferably those between the ages of 8 and up — I, your humble, average man, have just participated in an endeavor of sheer capitalistic excess.
It was frightening, horrifying, and exhilarating all the way down to the little toe on my left foot. But when you hear the call of dice rolling to a perfect double six and your eyes catch the glimmer of plastic green houses and bright, red hotels, well, how can you say no?
That’s how they got me. Those damn Parker Brothers have struck again.
Monopoly®. The world never stood chance.
I can now officially be bestowed with the title of heartless Tycoon. A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held in my honor atop the highest building in the world! Which is currently the hotel I have standing on Park Place.
Developing Boardwalk is for squares.
$1500 of fake money on multicolored paper. Check. Two, six-sided dice. Check. Cut-throat Mantra (Om, Rent, om). Check. Little metallic dog. Check.
I’d say it’s time we whipped out the dusty board and gave mogulism a chance.
We love it, it’s fun, and it’s just a harmless game, right? Wrong. It’s diabolical, conniving, and the root of all evil in the world.
Alright, so that might be an overstatement. But you want to know what it really is? Capitalism. At its finest.
Or perhaps at its most ruthless. In an enjoyable kind of way. Monopoly is capitalism sneaking into our homes, our hearts, and the very core of children across America!
This harmless, little game has been corrupting the American youth since 1935. That’s right! They’ve been doing it since before World War II. It was right about the time that Collectivism® was introduced to the U.S.S.R. by the Marx Brothers. It was a fun little ditty that spawned community, mutual production, and comradeship across the Soviet Union. Needless to say, it didn’t last.
Not like our Monopoly! It’s a staple in every home.
Now I could go on and on about what your favorite Monopoly piece says about you, but that’s another blog for another time.
And right now it’s time we got down to some business. So really, what is this “game” teaching our kids?
Well for one thing, it puts money in their hand and tells them to:
Buy Buy Buy:
While vaguely reminiscent of that N*SYNC pop-hit classic, this subject matter comes without the catchy tune and iconic dance moves. Simply put: If you don’t buy it, someone else will. Any basic econ class will give you a little education on scarcity — as well as the difference between a lemon and a car — but this game really hits the idea home. Suddenly, from you vantage point above the board, you can see the whole world. And if you don’t take the property, well than someone else will. And then they’ll take your money, too. All of it. Over, and over, and over again. In fact, they’ll just take it for sport. Laughing at you the whole way.
So you can say “Bye Bye Bye” to all that “hard earned” cash as your enemies:
Thievery is usually frowned upon in society. In fact we call them pirates, scoundrels, and business executives!
. . . Oh . . . wait a second . . . shoot. That’s right. Do you want to know where we got the idea that it’s okay for businesses, companies, and little old store owners to rip us off? Right here around the Monopoly board.
Suddenly, being a jerk becomes legal and acceptable. For simply rolling a die and walking around you can instantly be charged anywhere from $2 to $2000. Someone just has to say those three magic words: Rent, Please, and Thanks.
So maybe you only need the first one, but I’d say manners — especially at hypocritical times like this — are what separate us from the animals.
I mean when else in our lives do you celebrate the words “GO DIRECTLY TO JAIL, DO NOT PASS GO, DO NOT COLLECT $200,” as a means of escaping high renting?
And jail is exactly where the thieves should go, but as we know that’s exactly how it works out. Thieves tend to protect other thieves. It’s really a family affair.
So what would Steal be without it’s brothers, copper and bronze? I mean:
Lie and Cheat:
Growing up, when my extended family got together, we would almost always sit down to a nice, friendly game. Over the years we’ve played all sorts of them. Sometimes it was Pictionary and other times it was Risk. And while nonsensical drawings and world domination often brought out our competitive sides, there’s something about playing a game where the ultimate goal is to drive the other players into complete bankruptcy that really cultivates that evil seed planted in our human nature. When playing Monopoly with my family I saw sides of humanity I didn’t even know existed. It was one thing when they were just tricking me into having a Hertz Donut (now on sale for the low, low price of 99₡), but with battleships and thimbles at their finger tips, they were tricking me into giving them money, property, and my very dignity. And they did it all with a smiles on their faces!
With illogical arguments being whispered in my ear behind closed doors, I was just a pawn in their little games. Puppet Masters! Everyone one of them!
But they’re still family. And that’s the point anyways, right? Looking past Capitalism’s attempt to take over our minds, the cruel nature of beating each other into rags and submission, the glorious euphoria of lording over a miniature, flat, and strangely colored Atlantic City, it’s really all about family. Lilo and Stitch would be so proud.
So go ahead and roll the dice.
Because really it’s just about having some good, ol’ wholesome American fun. Sitting around a table, laughing with your family, and celebrating what it means to:
That’ll be $1500. Please and Thank You®.