Monopoly will ruin your life.
You're sitting at home with your amazing spouse and 3 children, finishing up dinner, and watching Family Feud.
You watch the families on television.
They think, guess, celebrate, and laugh... Together.
As a unit... As a family.
Once upon a time, YOUR family was like that.
Weekly bowling trips, vacations to the beach, movie nights.
And now you can barely get everybody at the same table to eat a meal.
You miss those days...
Then, you have an idea.
"Hey gang, how about a board game?" you inquire, buzzing with excitement.
Unfortunately, you're greeted by a wave of grumbling and excuses.
You try to conceal the look of disappointment as it washes over you, but your spouse catches it.
"No gang, that sounds like a great idea. Lets do it."
You beam at him/her and thank your lucky stars that you have such a supportive partner.
Visibly displeased, your children surrender, I mean, it's not like they really had a choice anyway.
You walk over to the dusty game closet and observe your options.
At this point, your night could've been saved.
You could have played anything from "Sorry" to "Life", but instead...
"How about Monopoly?" you inquire.
The kids agree to pretty much anything at this point, and your spouse just wants to see you happy.
This was the worst decision you will make for the rest of your life.
Even unpacking the game is complicated.
Everybody fights over who gets what piece, because everyone wants to be the car or the puppy, and nobody wants to be the boot. Then your youngest children start fighting over who gets to be "the bullet," and the eldest condescendingly reminds everyone that it is a thimble.
Once you've finally determined who gets to play as which piece (something that will be rehashed in a few turns, when you accidentally move the wrong piece), you move on to distributing the money. So you look through the box for a mythical piece of information that paleontologists call "instructions"... Only to find that they were not properly replaced the last time that somebody played the game (foreshadowing).
Thankfully, you're a smart cookie, and you simply Google how much money you're supposed to distribute at the beginning of the game. For some reason, Yahoo answers still comes up first, and the link tells you that you give out $1500 per person, divided by two $500, $100, and $50 dollar bills, six $20 dollar bills, and then 5 $10, $5, and $1 dollar bills.
There is a little bickering about whether or not your put taxes in the middle, to be claimed by whomever lands of the "Free Parking" space. Your youngest complains that it would make the game longer... Which only encourages you to include it as a rule.
Keep in mind. This is all before the game even starts.
Everybody is anxious and frustrated, and despite working for the last twenty minutes, the game has yet to start.
Which, by the way...
Is a huge problem, because not only is it a hassle to determine who starts, but the tribe can not even agree on a way to determine who rolls first.
You flex your paternal/maternal muscle and determine that the order should go by age, from youngest to oldest.
Now, the game starts off on a good note.
Everybody is rolling big numbers, there's group discussion of whether someone should purchase this property or save it for later, somebody starts collecting railroads, going easy on the youngest child, and it's all in good family fun. You grab the hand of your spouse and smile proudly. He/she smiles back and you ponder how lucky you are to have such a good life.
Fast forward 4 & 1/2 hours.
You're in jail.
Your only properties are mortgaged because that hideous beast that you're married to put a hotel and three houses on the boardwalk, and you just happened to land on it.
It's two in the morning, and your kids are complaining that they have school in a few hours,
but you can't give up.
If you missed watching the season premiere of "Dexter" to spend some time with these monsters, you're going to f*&3ing finish.
The money is scattered, disorganized next to the board, desperately stockpiled from collecting rent and "passing go" just before everybody lost it.
Your youngest, a thing that you once thought of as cute, is in the corner, eyes red, half-awake, and winning big.
With all the money that your "family" let her keep during the early turns, she invested in hotels on all of the properties you let her have because she "liked the color", and she has been mercilessly pillaging the wallets from every poor soul who set foot, wheel, paw, or "thimble" on her side of the board.
You remember that you have a business meeting in the morning, but you put it on the back-burner, all you need to do is roll doubles on this turn and you'll be free.
You clench your fists around the dice and pray for a miracle.
You let them go and they roll around on the cheap, wooden board of doom.
Like the end of Inception (Oh come on, Don't complain, if you haven't seen it yet, that's your fault), they spin for what seems like an eternity.
Finally, the spin slows and they fall... Double threes.
Your top hat takes its first few steps of freedom...
Right into St. James Place.
A property that your oldest child built three houses on.
"That's 550 bucks" he snarls, sounding more like a Vegas bookie than the kid who cried during the Lion King.
You start counting out the cash but realize that you only have 400 left.
You plead and beg with him.
You start offering him real-life rewards.
An allowance period.
But he denies them all.
He's been waiting for a moment like this since you grounded him for getting a D in Biology.
You give him your last dollar...
And flip the board.
You start screaming at everybody.
You drink to numb the pain, and scream at your hideous spouse for forcing you to play such an evil game.
You become an alcoholic.
That meeting that you missed? Costs you a promotion, and eventually your job.
Your spouse leaves you, and he/she takes the kids and the house with him/her.
You start knocking over liquor stores and 7/11's, trying to steal enough money to pay the rent and booze to feed your addiction.
One night, you attempt to rob a store where an undercover cop is shopping and you are arrested.
You go straight to jail, you do not pass go, and you do not collect 200 dollars.
Like Nicolas Cage movies and wisdom teeth, everybody has them, and nobody knows why.
Whether we inherit them or they just come with real estate, you have a Monopoly board.
This game appears fun on the surface.
It's a time consuming game that involves math, real estate, and good ol' fashion luck.
But it's so much worse underneath all of the superficial lies.
Absolutely, but no board game should last four hours. That much time spent with anybody is liable to make someone lose their mind.
And the worst part of this game is?
Most of us are broke in real life. We don't need to be broke in a board game too!
When you were just trying to be smart early in the game, saving your money for the boardwalk or railroads, everybody else was stockpiling properties.
By the time that you decide to start spending cash, everybody else is building houses and hotels.
By the end of the game, you would rather be in jail, because at least in jail, you're safe from the people who used to be your friends and all of their properties.
It's awful. It makes you resent people that you love, it makes a huge mess, and it wastes entirely too much time.
Thankfully. I have a solution.
Go get your Monopoly box.
I know what you're thinking.
"Throw it away? Burn it? Bury it? Drown it? BURN IT?!"
No. And maybe see a therapist.
If you simply get rid of it, it will find its way back to you.
Someone will buy it for you, your kids will ask for it, or it will miraculously re-appear in your closet.
Open the box, throw away the instructions (see, i told you), and pour out all of the money inside the box.
All of it.
Shuffle it around, and make sure that anything in the box that can be organized, isn't.
There. Now, without getting rid of the devil's game, you have set up a defense against your biggest threat.
Next time that you think "hey, Monopoly is fun", and you convince a few of your friends to go play, you will open the box and find that it is just too disorganized and you don't have the energy to clean that up.
You. Are. Welcome.