Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Monday, January 24, 2005

‘Life’--One lived in an alternate universe.

When I was about six or so (which would have been about 1968 or so) my sister and I got a game of Life for Christmas. It’s been years since I played it, but I vaguely remembered little pin-shaped people pegs, and spinning the spinner that always managed to launch itself off of the mountain and take out several people and their cars. A peculiar thing I remember is that the instructions said the spinner spindle should be lubricated with a drop of mineral oil. Mineral oil just seems so very Stone Age, but you know, people used to keep a bottle of mineral oil on hand. Never know when you might need a nice laxative cocktail. I’m sure that in today’s enlightened times it probably says K-Y.

Anyway, I’ve still got the old game somewhere out in the garage, I think the version I have has people on the front instead of looking like this one, but frankly, I don’t remember it being so oddly unlike what I thought adult life was like. Maybe it just takes being an actual adult, but the game could just as easily be called The Game of Random Occurrences Having No Basis or Correlation to Anything.

Part of the problem, I think, can be traced to this little blurb on the History of Life page from Hasbro:

“In 1992, The Game of Life® was updated to include Life Tiles which reward players for recycling their trash, learning CPR and saying "no" to drugs.”

How very precious.

What they don’t tell you is you get them for anything else, too--except for breaking wind, which is probably for the best or we’d have depleted the stock rather rapidly. Anyway, all that touchy-feely garbage added yet another unnecessary layer of randomness to the game. Maybe I’m misremembering, but I thought in the original version, if you took the college route, you got behind early, but your job choices were better and you got more money. In the version we played, it really doesn’t matter which one you start on, because you draw career cards at random, and the careers have no salary assigned to them. You draw your salary card separately. Sure, you get to choose from three of either if you go to college, but what if the three cards you pick are the three lowest salaries? What if you go straight to work without college, and by luck with your one pick, you get to be a doctor, and you make $200,000?

Seems like it wouldn’t hurt the game at all if the salaries had some correlation to the career, and the career had some correlation to whether you went to college or not. And what’s this deal with the accountant career-cardholder getting any taxes you owe?! There ought to be a giant Government attachment with a vacuum cleaner hose that sucks all your money out of your hand.

Anyway, the kids had a good time, even if they didn’t understand why car insurance is $10,000, or why it costs $100,000 to have a tattoo removed. I couldn’t explain it either. Took over an hour for us to play, and at the very end of it, I thought Cat was going to win. She certainly had the biggest stack of cash, and had the highest salary throughout most of the game. But, she came in second, mainly because near the end she had to shell out 50 grand for each of her five children to attend college. $250K, right out the door.

After the count, and after the addition of the stupid, cash-heavy, randomly-bestowed Life Tiles to everyone’s total, I actually managed to beat both of them, winding up with a tidy $1,320,000.

If I could only do that in real life.

To bed with us all then, where I had to console my loneliness by snuggling up to Reba’s long body pillow. ::sigh:: It just wasn’t the same--no cold feet on mine, no elbow in my throat, no sudden getting up and then getting back in and bouncing the mattress like it was a trampoline until I am awake enough to ask what’s wrong, only to be told it was nothing--::sniff::

Man alive, how I missed her.


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