Monopoly money

6 comments on Monopoly money
2 minutes

I was feeling pretty good about my financial situation as I headed into the summer. I was paying down debt pretty powerfully and had built up some savings. But then August was expensive. I replaced my car’s transmission (and rented a car for two weeks while it was in the shop), needed to buy a new refrigerator, and had some unexpected legal, medical, and veterinary bills. Bam! Within a few weeks, my savings was gone and I had even gone a little more into debt.

I know that everything that cost me was just a matter of chance. Cars break down, 20-year-old fridges die, dogs and people get sick. It was better to spend savings on these things than to have borrowed to pay for it all. You might even say that God took care of me, providing for me through these misfortunes. But I’ve been angry about it just the same. It really hurt to get a little bit ahead only to lose it almost all at once.

On Wednesday, the boys and I broke out the Monopoly board. My youngest is starting to understand trading and can now stick with a long game, and so our play is starting to become vigorous. We’d made some trades and we all had monopolies – my older son had the violets, my youngest son had the neighboring oranges, and I was just around the corner with the reds. When we started improving our properties, it became hard to move along that side of the board without somebody collecting.

My youngest son landed on my Kentucky Avenue. With two houses, the rent wasn’t terrible, but having spent all his cash on houses he hocked most of his property to pay me. He weathered that with good humor, but he next landed on Go To Jail and so would make another trip down Death Row. His next roll put him on Community Chest, but then he landed on Indiana Avenue, which by then had four houses and was much more expensive to visit. Cash-strapped and hocked to the hilt, he had no choice but to sell most of houses. He was ticked. And then a few tears ran down his face. And then he buried his face in my shoulder.

The irony did not escape me as I hugged him and told him it’s bound to hurt when you build things up and get a little ahead only to have bad luck take it all away.

When I woke up the next morning, I didn’t feel so bad anymore.


6 responses to “Monopoly money”

  1. Chris Rowland Avatar

    It’s been a similar year for me, too. New heat pump and air handler $7000; maintenance on our two cars $2000; we decide for my wife to go back to school, so tuition, books and a laptop for her $2000; two computer monitors died $500; and it seems like the list of unexpected expenses goes on.

    Fortunately I had savings to fall back on, but I don’t think I can take many more hits… I think I have kept a good attitude through it all, but it’s hard to watch the bank balance in free-fall. Here’s hoping that next year there are no major unexpected expenses!

    I haven’t tried Monopoly yet with my boys (9 and 11), but I am sure it will bring tears when I do… but they are just as likely to be my own.

  2. Jim Avatar

    Chris, my sons are 9 and 11 as well. I’ve been slowly bringing them along with the game for a couple years now. Monopoly’s a family tradition.

    Maybe we’ll both have good luck and the rest of the year nothing else will break.

  3. Lone Primate Avatar
    Lone Primate

    That’s a great story. I think the best games endure generation after generation because there’s something important to plug into in them… there’s something you learn from playing them. Even when you’re older. :)

    Ever notice how much Monopoly money looks like Canadian money? :D

  4. Jim Avatar

    LP, I hadn’t noticed the similarities between Monopoly money and Canadian money! Of course, last time I was in Canada you still had dollar bills.

  5. Neil Avatar

    I had to follow this link here from the futon story since Monopoly is the nonelectronic game of choice of our grandson. He’s been moved with his mom down to Nashville from Michigan since the end of July and the unfinished Monopoly game sits on the table in “his” room with pieces, properties, and money stacked on or by our occupied spaces. The dice mark the next person’s turn, which should be his. I hope by the time he makes his way up here for his next nonholiday visit that he’ll be interested in taking it up again. He’s only 10 and grandma and I are grieving our loss of his boyhood. Monopoly is a great game to grow up with and we don’t want to lose those opportunities.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Monopoly only gets better as your boy ages because he can play better and better. Sorry he’s moved so far away.

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