20071119

NO MORE MONOPOLY MONEY?

Oh, the memories of playing Monopoly, picking your favorite piece, placing the red and yellow cards in their little squares on the board, hoping to land on Boardwalk and Park Place so you could add homes and then hotels and break the other players with high rents! Counting out your money and hording it under your side of the board, didn't you feel rich? Didn't you love the feel of that play money? Did you sometimes take your Monopoly money and put it in your little plastic Barbie coin purse or your Roy Rogers wallet and imagine you could buy all the candy in the world?

Well, time has marched on. In their ultimate wisdom to keep up with the times
Parker Brothers, now a subsidiary of Hasbro, has done away with Monopoly Money! Yes, they have introduced the new Electronic Banking Monopoly! "Play faster without cash!" OMG! I now am faced with credit card banking in one of my favorite pop culture games!

I find myself fretting over having to apply for a Monopoly credit card. Will I even qualify? What will the interest rates be? Will they be as usurous as real life cards? What kind of fees do I face? What kind of credit limit will I be allowed? If I'm late with my payment will some little top-hatted banker with a monocle and cane grab $35 from my account for a late fee? What kind of over limit fee will I be assessed? If I fail to make my payments will I have to sell my properties during a real estate slump to get some quick cash? Will I end up in bankruptcy where some little repossesor game piece comes to take away my little Shoe, my houses, my railroads? Worse, will I be found guilty of credit card fraud for the false information I submitted on my game application and have to GO TO JAIL, GO DIRECTLY TO JAIL?

Where I used to contemplate a fun and worry free few hours of playing Monopoly, I now experience the stress and worry of the financial juggernaut of debt in a virtual world of play money! What used to be a fun and happy escape from the real world and a chance to be a rich real estate magnet hording thousands of pink, blue, green, yellow and orange play dollars has now become just a painful exercise in the vagaries of Big Finance.

Reality has come to Realty in the fantasy world of one of my favorite childhood past times. The little green houses are now owned by slum lords, the hotels are all owned by "The Donald", the railroads and utilities are bankrupt and receiving government subsidies, the jail is overcrowded, my Scotty has run away, the yellow cards are all tax bills and the "get out of jail free" cards have been replaced by the business cards of one-inch tall pewter lawyers who charge by the quarter hour!

It is a sad day for the imaginary world of board games and a sadder day for little plastic wallets and coin purses the world over. DO NOT PASS GO, DO NOT COLLECT $200 AND DO NOT ENJOY YOUR CHILDHOOD!

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