The Economic Crisis Hits the Markson Family Monopoly Board.
BY JON METHVEN
I realize you’re angry at how Friday night’s Monopoly game ended. I’m writing this note to explain why certain things occurred the way they did, and, hopefully, to chip away at the chilly silence that has characterized our relationship the past few days.
Since we haven’t spoken, I’m not aware of your stance on the causes of our dispute. I believe our major issue was the housing crisis, which began with your properties on Ventnor Avenue and Marvin Gardens. But in order to put that in context it’s important that we first discuss the children’s inflationary habits. I realize Bethany is only 6, and you find it cute that she writes “$5,000” in crayon on the backs of the Chance and Community Chest cards when she runs out of funds and uses them to purchase houses, but, if you recall, that is exactly what led to the inflation that crippled our Friday fun.
By allowing our 6-year-old to print her own currency, we’re slashing the value of our real Monopoly dollars. Maybe you don’t think it’s a “big deal” and that I should “relax” because it’s “only a game.” But tell that to people like me and my former co-workers, who are out of jobs now that the U.S. dollar is worth squat.
In order to teach the children frugality and make them understand the dangers of inflation, I had no choice but to halt all $200 pass-go payouts and increase the rental rates on the following properties: Boardwalk, Park Place, New York Avenue, Virginia Avenue, and the Short Line Railroad. Granted, this resulted in you (thimble), Warren (wheelbarrow), and Bethany (Scottie dog) paying me all your funds, but such is the nature of a recessionary economy.
This brings us to the housing crisis, for which you and you alone, Pamela, are responsible. When you choose a Chance card and Rich Uncle Pennybags orders you to pay taxes on your houses, then, damn it, Pamela, you pay taxes. Instead, you decide you’re not going to pay, because you only have $7 left. It’s just a game, you say. Stop taking it so seriously, you tell me. Well, maybe that’s what the millions of Americans caught in the subprime-mortgage crisis should have done.
Then you offered a solution—that we dole out my money and resume play. When I heard you suggest a redistribution of wealth in front of the children, I thought my head would explode. What type of example are you setting during Monopoly night, Pamela? Next, you’ll encourage Warren to smoke dope. Or Brittany to get a liberal-arts education.
I realize that, since the layoff, I’ve been obsessed with the economic crisis. Admittedly, I’ve been watching too much CNN. Which is, perhaps, what led me to suggest a government bailout of our Monopoly crisis. I figured we needed about 40 Monopoly games to accrue the necessary funds. I don’t know where you thought that kind of liquidity would come from, but I believe you overreacted to my suggestion of going door to door and borrowing all the neighbors’ Monopoly money. Perhaps you’d had too much wine. Or perhaps you are against foreign investment, although I happen to think the Chinese are saving our asses.
At any rate, you’d clearly lost your senses—not to mention you were scaring the children—which is why I had no choice but to remove you from the premises. Being the sole vote, I approved the government bailout, packed the kids into the car, and headed to Wal-Mart.
This is where things get tricky, depending on whom you choose to believe (Warren, who was with me the entire time) and who has a vibrant imagination (Brittany, who was left in the car as a lookout). In any government bailout, it’s the working class that gets stuck with the bill, which is why it made symbolic sense to stick it to the store employees. I did not steal anything, as Brittany suggests; I simply borrowed 40 Monopoly boards (ask Warren) so I could teach my children a valuable financial lesson.
I’m hoping this note sheds some light on my economic acumen, and that you’ll consider coming down to the jail to discuss this face to face. After all, Pamela, we have a game to finish. And I do believe it’s your roll, sweetheart.
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