Let’s play ... Monopoly!

“If only Monopoly money were real money.”

If only ... If only I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard those seven words spoken in some way, shape or form, I’d have more money than ... err ... Rich “Uncle” Pennybags, himself. Which is really quite humorous, considering your typical, “old-school” Monopoly game only came with a grand total of $15,140 in paper cash.

I know, I’ve counted it.

Of course, Monopoly in this day and age has changed somewhat, with ATM machines, dollar values in the millions and a new, modern look that’s, well, just wrong in my opinion. Some things should never change and – like it or not – Parker Brothers’ iconic board game is one of them.

Me? I’ve been a huge fan of Monopoly for as long as I can remember. And I have fond memories of marathon sit-downs with both family and friends, from our annual Thanksgiving contests as a young child to my high school days, staying up through the wee hours of the morning staking my claim as the Monopoly grand champion (until the next game, of course).

What can I say? There’s just something special about dominating Monopoly’s fictional economic market that tickles the fancy of the greedy capitalist that resides deep inside of me. And I’ve always found it a little disconcerting how perfectly the game mirrors real life, at least in an abstract way.

Utilities? We’ve got them, although I’d much rather roll a pair of dice, multiply by ten and pay up in Monopoly fashion at the end of the month. Honestly, what’s the most you’re going to pay? $120? That’s chump change compared to a typical utility bill these days.

Railroads? Well, we’ve got those too, or at least we used to. Funny how, for all the comparisons one can draw between reality and the classic board game, there are no natural disasters in the world of Monopoly. Unless, of course, you’re assessed for street repairs, a kind of natural disaster in its own right in the Monopoly universe.

And what about Free Parking? Hell, we’ve had that in Norwich since they took out the old parking meters, right? Unfortunately (if you play by my version of “house rules” Monopoly), there’s no wad of cash waiting for you every time you find that perfect (and free!) parking spot.

Just saying.

Then, of course, there are the properties themselves, from Mediterranean Avenue (think the wrong side of the tracks here in Norwich ... you know what I mean) to Boardwalk (umm ... the BID district?). These iconic properties represent all walks of life, from the poorest of the poor to the truly wealthy. My favorites? That first stretch of the board (the slums) and – without a doubt – the last (the hills).

Don’t ask me why, because I couldn’t tell you. Unless, perhaps, it’s my unrealized dream to one day be my very own slumlord (while living a life of comfort and luxury). Yeah, I suppose that could be it.

And don’t forget the Monopoly jail, something we also have right here in Norwich, with its sketchy drawing of a balding man with a bit of scruff that – no joke – kind of looks like my father (sorry, Dad).

In reality, I’ve never been behind bars. In the land of Monopoly, I’ve landed myself in the slammer countless times. Too bad they don’t have those ‘Get out of jail free’ cards in real life, right?

No, about the only thing missing from Monopoly – as it compares to our fair city – is a pool. Then again, we haven’t had one of those since the summer of 2010, now that I think about it. And considering it’s going to take a quarter of a million dollars to fix the one we do have, well, let’s just say it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen any time soon.

As I said, it’s too bad Monopoly money can’t be substituted for the real thing. Then we could all pool together (no pun intended) our stash of orange-ish colored $500 bills and get this thing done. Unfortunately, I get the feeling that some people – no names – don’t want to see the pool fixed at all, but who am I to judge?

Follow me on Twitter ... @evesunbrian.

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