Actual Rules from "The Game of Life" vs. Actual Life

Do you remember playing the Game of Life, as a kid? Remember the little plastic cars and the pink and blue people pegs? Remember when you still had a chance to win?

 

If you knew then what you know now,
you would have stayed in Candy Land
and let the adults assemble as required.

 

Instead, if you are like me, you ignored the “For Ages 9 to Adult” warning. You wanted to get into the big kids’ game as young as possible. Then just as young, you learned Life isn’t fair.

The only way you could win at 9 versus an adult is if someone threw the game or the other threw a tantrum.

Now we are single and on the Sweet Side of40. We read the rules again. We are screwed.

Actual Game of Life Rule (excerpted  but unaltered, from Hasbro)

Always move your car forward, in the direction of the arrows. (Just as in real life, you can’t go back in time!) If you land on an occupied space, move ahead to the next open space.

 Actual Life:

If you land on an occupied space, you better step back or Monopoly rules apply: Go to jail, go directly to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200.

  

Actual Rule:

On your first turn, decide either to start a career, or to start college. If you decide to start a career, you may not keep a Career Card that says “Degree Required.”

 Actual Life:

As if not having a degree is a decision anymore.

 

 Actual Rule:

If you decide to go to college, borrow $40,000 from the bank for tuition.

 Actual Life:

If you decide to go to college, borrow $40,000 from the bank for tuition.

 

 Actual Rule:

When you reach the Job Search space, choose your Career Card: Draw 3 cards at random. Look at the cards, choose any 1 card, then return the other 2 cards to the deck.

 Actual Life:

Get a job. No choice.

 

Actual Rule:

Now choose your Salary Card the same way (pick 1 card from the 3 cards you draw).

 Actual Life:

Get a job with a salary.

 

Actual Rule:

Whenever you land on an orange space, you must follow the directions. Whenever you land on a blue space, follow the directions only if you want to. Whenever you land on or pass a green space, collect your salary from the bank.

Actual Life:

The Philadelphia Parking Authority.

 

Sure seems like Milton Bradley had a dictator-like approach to regulating behavior; it’s unclear if he was a mysogynist, a cutthroat or an optimist toward his fellow (wo)men.

 

Consider the squares on the game board that are "Life Spaces." They are supposedly about family activities, community service and good deeds. On the other hand, if resources are scarce, if there are no cards left in the pile, land on one on Life Space and you can demand a Life Tile from another person.

 

Huh? I didn’t see No good deed goes unpunished in the rules.

 

Then there’s his “it’s not a crime if you don’t get caught” approach to policing. The lone Life Officer only gets paid when the other players speed. (Don’t you just know that’s how the Parking Authority works, too?) However, if the cop doesn’t notice the lead-foot outlaw, no harm, no foul, no fine.

 

I can only wish Milton and his successsors’ rules on Mid-Life Career Crises worked today as well as their marital decrees. We’d simply choose a new job and salary. I’m trying to be obedient. I’m choosing to write about games and telling single women, “Play With Yourself” and wishing I have a new career.

 

Life in these United States is visibly different from Milton’s US of A, yet you and I– single women– can’t seem to win unless we play by his rules.  

 

Society wants to throw the game to married people.

 

I want to throw a tantrum.

 

Are you getting Single and The Sweet Side of 40 blog posts and Play With Yourself announcements delivered directly to your in-box? Life waits for no man but I’m waiting for you.

ADD A COMMENT

In order to comment on BlogHer.com, you'll need to be logged in. You'll be given the option to log in or create an account when you publish your comment. If you do not log in or create an account, your comment will not be displayed.

Menu