21 August 2013

The Game of LIFE

Note: I'm the blue van.

When You're a Child/Adolescent...

  • You dream of being a superstar, so you make sure the dealer puts that career card in plain sight when it's your turn to draw.
  • You figure out that he who has the $90,000 salary card always wins, so you make sure you end up with that card too.
  • And the card that represents either the Tudor or the Victorian (whichever mood you're in).
  • You marry the love of your life within three spins of graduation.
  • You pay off your Sharkies before you buy your house.
  • You buy up three or four stock cards and start rolling in the dough.
  • Any baby boy/girl tile you so much as pass over means another child in your van—two sets of twins and all. And you double-decker your van pieces to fit it all.
  • Each spin is a 7 or above, and the game flies with your plastic van along the tiles.
  • You roll in stocks, pick up a LIFE card or two (but who cares about those?) and somehow avoid most of the skip turn/fork over this amount of $/lose stock tiles. Or, if you do hit one of those, it doesn't matter because you've got the dream house, the dream job, the dream salary, the dream family, and the breeze of LIFE just carrying your car along.
  • Inevitably you land on "Arbor Day" and don't mind because life is so good that being stuck on some obscure holiday tile for a turn just feels like time well earned.
  • You retire to "Millionaire Estates" and tally up your winnings—and, yes, you've beaten all the other players, even the one with the $100,000 salary card and two or three kids (because kids don't cost anything in LIFE!)—without the LIFE cards.

When You're an Adult...

  • You decide it's time to be responsible and mature, and fair, so you play by the rules.
  • And end up with:
    • The artist career (it was either that or teacher or salesperson)
    • The $30,000 salary card—$50,000 less per year than the next poorest player (but hey, anytime anyone rolls a 1 you get $10,000)
    • The trailer home 
  • The player to your right (the 13-year-old) ends up with the athlete/$90,000/Victorian deal he's always dreamed of—without cheating.
  • The player to your left (the 9-year-old) becomes a doctor who makes $80,000 and lives in the mountain cabin. 
  • The other players—13 years old and 9 years old—get married about four turns before you do.
  • While you bicycle to and from work because you can't afford the van prop the LIFE game comes with, they're off getting schmoozy paydays and taking cruises.
  • And they each have at least two kids.
  • You barely, barely manage to land on one "New child!" tile (which is probably ok because of your salary—we have no idea how much your spouse makes).
  • You manage to pay off your Sharkies around midlife crisis time.
  • You're afforded the opportunity to upgrade real estate...to either a farmhouse or a condo. (That elusive Tudor....)
  • You squeeze together enough money to buy home insurance (nevermind the car insurance—we're pretty sure the van you're driving is in no danger of theft) and one stock: 3. Because you only seem to roll 3's. 
  • And then, of course, you buy the stock card and no one ever rolls a 3 again.
  • You never seem to have more than $25,000 in savings, because you land on tiles like
    • Taxes due
    • Take a computer class (that happens to cost $25,000)
    • Take an emergency prep class (also $25,000)
    • Lose your stock (not that it did you any good)
    • Doctor appointment
  • For one exhilarating turn you switch salaries with the $90,000-per-year athlete ... and then lose said salary card to the doctor.
  • Your athletic $90,000/year opponent publishes a bestseller... and he didn't even ask you to edit it.
  • Just before retirement time, your art starts to pay off: the doctor rolls a couple 1's, lands on a "fork over $30,000 to the poor artist" tile and then sponsors your exhibit for $125,000.
  • You and your beat-up van, your faceless spouse, your only child and your savings limp into cottage retirement about three turns after the athlete and the doctor.
  • You tally up your winnings (or losings, in this case) and turn over your LIFE cards, which suddenly feel very important.
  • And it turns out you collected more LIFE cards than either of your opponents ... and still came out behind.

Well ... even if it didn't go smoothly or according to plan, at least you enjoyed life and made a positive difference: 
  • Run World Record Mile
  • Design New Computer
  • Discover New Planet
  • Family Horse Wins Derby (don't know how you ever afforded that one!)
  • Toy Invention Sells Big
  • Nobel Peace Prize
  • Save Endangered Species
  • Invent New Ice Cream Flavor (oh yeah!)
  • Swim English Channel
Now that's a LIFE well spent.

(Still ... I'd prefer it not to be a harbinger of mine!)


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