Saturday, September 24, 2011

Day 354: Pass Go, but give me all your money.

I feel like you don’t really know the people you know until you play Monopoly with them.
In my experience, the fun and laughter board games are supposed to bring, do not apply to this game.
This is serious play-money business.
Faint hearts should stay on the sidelines with the official rules that come with the box.
I say this because, have you noticed how the rules change depending on who you play with?
Then you haven’t met my family.

Cheater 1: Nooo, I rolled a double. That gets me out of jail. And I land on Park Place by default.
Cheater 2: Yesssss! Free Parking! That means I win all the money in the middle of the board and each of you have to give me twenty bucks.

Every Thanksgiving, my family would rent a cottage up in the mountains.
After a long day of hiking in fresh air, excessive eating and drinking, someone would traditionally utter those fateful words: Hey, let's play Monopoly!
It always got ugly.
Mom, for starters, instantly became a mobster.
She would insist on being the banker.
She would also control all the property and hotels and keep them close to her so that we couldn't keep track of what she had actually bought.
I could tell when she was cheating because about midway through the game she'd begin avoiding all eye contact.

Me (eyebrows raised): Heyyyyy, when did you get so many $500 bills?!
Mom: What? I saved them.
Me: But you only get two to start with!
Mom (pursing her lips and looking under the table): No.

If she didn't steal from the bank, she'd steal from us – her children.
We learned quickly to take our fake cash with us when we got up to make snacks or, heaven forbid miss the action to go to the washroom.
And if any of us had decent property, she’d use her perfectly executed Italian guilt to get us to sell it to her for cheaper than we bought it for.
My mom : Al Capone aka Sticky Fingers.

And couples always formed unfair alliances.
Selling property only to eachother.
It was quite interesting for me to add fresh blood to the mix.
My poor boyfriends, they didn't know what they were up against.
They got to know one family and encountered another when this game was played.
Doors slamming, voices raised, extreme fits of laughter combined with bouts of rage.
Everyone became a tycoon or business expert in a matter of minutes.
Well, everyone but me.
Oddly I would always get stuck with sleazy Baltic Avenue.
Or repeatedly roll the exact number of place moves to the hotel swamped Boardwalk.
Going bankrupt was my specialty.
But then again, I always sat next to mom...

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