Writing Out Loud: DO NOT PASS GO, DO NOT COLLECT $200

Writing Out Loud / George Stahl

The board game, Monopoly has been around, believe it or not, for almost 115 years. That’s right. It was 1904 when a lady named Lizzie Magie came up with the concept and got a patent on her game, ‘The Landlord’s Game’. Eventually it was called ‘Monopoly’ and was given a mascot called, ‘Rich Uncle Pennybags’. Now, sit down for this…there are between 1,500 and 3, 300 variations of the Monopoly Game manufactured all over the world, depending on the accuracy of the information coming from certain countries. That’s a lot of Top Hats, Dogs, Battleships, and Thimbles. In all of those games, the pieces change, the cards change and the names of the properties change, and the rules are not all the same either. The commonality? Winners, losers, and a humungous amount of time spent getting that last piece of phony Monopoly money.

Game changer alert. The latest version is the 2018 ‘Monopoly for Millennials’. That’s right, everyone born between early 1980 and late 1990 now have their own game based on their ‘Generation Y’ values. (Noted here: not all millennials agreed with the game’s assessment of their lives.) In the latest game, some of the pieces have been replaced with a hashtag symbol and a crying Emoji.

Instead of collecting money as they move around the board, players land on experiences. The first one to land on an experience owns it, and others landing on the space have to pay the owners for the experience. They range from things like, ‘Parent’s basement’, ‘Thrift Shop’, ‘Farmer’s Market’ to three-day concert events. There is even one that reads, ‘Crashing on a friend’s couch’. Rich Uncle Pennybags is on the cover, holding a cup of coffee, wearing earbuds, and taking a selfie. Millennials are not happy about the game, and are boycotting its sales all over the country. Maybe. Or at least they will be, for a little while, a week maybe. They really don’t have the time to boycott, they are working, remember.

Now, imagine this. A new game that could be called, ‘Monopoly for Old Folks’. It will be geared towards the generation a great number of us call ours. The box would be made of some sort of lightweight paper, not quite cardboard, so that the target audience, us, will be able to pick it up. The timeless pieces from the games you remember as a kid will be replaced with titanium instead of cast iron. They will depict life in the eyes of our generation. A walker, a bedside toilet and a wheel chair will be among them. Players will not buy property, but instead will be able to purchase medical insurance, inexpensive prescriptions and short-term life insurance policies. The four railroads will be replaced with four assisted living facilities. Each facility will offer different amenities, and, depending on a player’s Social Security and retirement benefits, they will be able to buy rooms in them.

Senior discounts and Medicare specials will be available at nominal fees. Rewards will be given for such things as ‘Phone scam discovered, receive $200’.

The ‘Go to Jail’ square can be replaced by a hospital stay. The time a player has to be suspended from play can depend on the seriousness of their illness. Hip replacements and knee surgery would require missing two turns, and routine testing only one. If diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the player can be allowed to roam about the board wherever he wants. There should even be a special game piece for that one. Maybe a titanium question mark.

If this plan for this type of a new game were to get out, and be taken seriously, elderly people all over the United States would be up in arms. Rumors of a march on the manufacturer’s headquarters in Pawtucket, Rhode Island could be a possibility. With any luck, the legion of the elderly could be ready to roll into fury in a few years. If not, there could always be a discrimination issue and a possible lawsuit.

In the meantime, we elderly will just have to wait and see if the game makers give us our time in the sun, and develop this game of geriatric Monopoly. We say, why not us? Why should the millennials be the only ones who have a game only they can understand? We too, the over 60 crowd, should be able to roll the dice, move our electric scooter game piece accordingly and get that ‘Stay out of the hospital’ free card. Then, say to a player landing on our piece of property, ‘Oh yeah baby! That’s my pharmacy! You owe me $500 buddy for past due prescription payments on those little purple pills!”

The game of Monopoly has been bringing people closer together for all these 115 years. Each time a new group is added, the family grows. Welcome to the family, Millennials. Maybe one day, we old folks will be joining you. Ahhh, we could only hope… Whatever.


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