Real Monopoly a much different game

By Dennis Minich

Based on the lines in the grocery store Saturday night it was pretty obvious everyone was stocking up for the latest major snowstorm racing into the area last weekend. The forecasters had warned us for days about this major event and as early as Wednesday were warning of probable church cancellations, the usual stay off the road alerts and mentions about picking up extra salt for driveways and sidewalks. And then early Sunday morning it struck: both inches. Maybe our life would be easier if we resorted to some old-fashioned ideas. In planning for the weather, the old-fashioned idea was, if you got up in the morning and there was snow you probably should be ready for snow.  If you got up and it was raining, you probably should plan for rain; if it was sunny, it was a nice day.

Even though the latest “Snowmageddon” event didn’t quite live up to expectations we are still getting the cold weather predicted. It would have been nice if they had missed that one as well. The part that really stinks is I wasn’t even planning on being here this week to endure the cold temperatures. I was supposed to be in Arizona with friends enjoying a couple days of spring training. Maybe there is solace in the fact that it’s not as warm there as it could be: the night they landed in Phoenix it was only 58 degrees. And the high for the whole week was only supposed to be 86 degrees so it’s really not that much different from here.

Before doing my snow shopping Saturday, I had the pleasure of competing in the annual Monopoly Tournament at the Cass Career Center which is a fundraiser for the Jerry Tabb Memorial Scholarship Fund. I never really thought about being ready to play Monopoly at 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning, but I managed it. My result was very predictable. There were prizes for the first four places: I finished fifth. Once again: I was the “bubble boy” of a competition. There are three rounds in the tournament and you combine your profits from each round. Knocking me down was bankrupting in the second round. Oh well, sometimes no matter how you play, bankrupting is just part of the game.

What made the game really unusual was it was played by the actual rules. I don’t know how many games of Monopoly I have played in my life, but I know I had never played one according to the actual rules. It is a much different game. When properly played, the game only takes about 90 minutes to two hours. There is no money in the free parking, you can trade with other players or build houses on a Monopoly at any time and if someone lands on a property and doesn’t want to buy it, it is auctioned. There is also a strategy in houses and hotels which are different from many home games. It is amazing for as long as the game has been around how few people know what the rules really are.

It is much different from another Monopoly game in which I am involved. My college roommate and I started a game in 1976. Unlike the real rules, we had money in free parking and unlimited building. When we suspended play, we each had about $250,000, most of it in markers from the bank because we had to keep loaning back to the bank. We had all of the properties, with hotels built to the max. Maybe he and I can get back together one of these days and pick up where we left off. I wonder if 43 years is a record for a Monopoly game? I wonder if 43 years between moves would disqualify it from the record books?

Part of the job of working in the “media” is you sometimes aggravate people and some weaker minds seek revenge. I apparently stepped on someone’s toes because suddenly I have unknowingly subscribed to a number of magazines. It’s the same prank for which many teenagers are infamous. Normally people grow out of such feeble stunts, usually about the time they figure out no one really cares about tattling. But there are always weaker-minded individuals who don’t know how to handle adult issues in adult ways. After a while you learn to ignore the malicious intent and analyze such pranks for forethought and originality. I have to say I am disappointed in the latest-round of enrollments.

First came “Sports Illustrated.” The bad part was it started after the swimsuit issue, so I really feel kind of cheated. As a suggestion, if you want to prank someone with SI, at least have the decency to get them the swimsuit issue. Next came “Vanity Fair.” There was also some kind of women’s style magazine, nice pictures, but a little light on the read. But finally came the one that really ticked me off: a subscription to “Time,” neither original nor annoying, just bad writing. The plus side on such pranks is at least it provides some job security for my mail carrier as he hauls the periodicals up and back from the house.