The Game of Life | Mark’s Remarks


Over the holidays, we have a chance to sit back and have some down time.  Invariably, in my house, down time leads to some sort of game time.

We play cards, marbles, what have you. Always fun.  All the kids are long past being sore losers and we can actually have a decent time playing now. Lots of laughs ensue during most games and no one cares too much about winning.

Our youngest recently got a new game. I use the word “new” loosely. It’s the game of “Life.” You remember it, don’t you? The one with the cool spinner.  The little cars. The pink and blue pegs. 

The board game originally came about in the 1860s and became a very popular board game.  Those early editions of the game were more true to life and reality-based. If you research a bit, you will find that, as we became “softer,” so did the game of Life.

The latest version just blows my mind. It seems to be appealing to our new whacked out society.  Totally unrealistic. It promotes entitlement. 

I played with my daughter the other day. True, we get to pick a career or college path. We get to make choices. OK, so that’s real.  

But we also have to take a pet if we land on a space.  Almost every player ends up with a pet. You must have a pet, regardless of how much room you have in your car. You could have six children and you still have to take that pet. And pay for it.

So, for all the people out there who value animals more than people, there’s your perk.

“Well I really don’t want either a dog or a cat,” I said.

“Dad, you have to do it,” said my daughter. “It’s part of the rules.”

The salaries for many of the jobs also seem to be unrealistic and exorbitant.  Plus, you can keep a hold of some of the chance cards you get during the game and cash them in for $100,000 at the end. What?  I wish we could get such amounts for pieces of cardboard.

There are shortcuts.  You have chances to do unrealistic things with real estate.  There are chances to “spin to win” all the time, which promotes gambling. However, there are no losers.  No matter what you spin, you still win. More entitlement. More easy money. 

I wish someone would design a more realistic game of life. What if there was a “credit card” path that showed what happened if you spent more than you earned? What if there was a patient, “savings” path where the players had to wait until they had the cash to buy something? What about a hard work path where players advanced only after they had stayed at a job for a length of time?  How about a real college path where real life costs are discussed? What about a few debt cards, discussing the reality of being in debt?

I think you should have to balance a checking account during the game.  You should also have to pay all your bills and put some money away at the end of the month. 

There could also be a “saving up for” facet to the game where you could stick money you got on an “extra money” roll or something.  You could purchase vacations, extra stuff, etc. But only if you had enough saved up. I could go on and on.

As we played, I remarked to my other kids and Michelle about my ideas for the REAL game of life.

Much like a chorus of angels, my kids replied, “It’s only a game, Dad.”

That it is.

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