I recently made a birthday card for my brother out of old Monopoly cards. It’s so shabby chic these days to use old game pieces to make things, I just had to give it a whirl. And I was fortunate enough to come across some bags of Monopoly cards at a yard sale not long ago. I didn’t do this just for the sake of making something shabby chic, because, believe me, my brother couldn’t care less about shabby chic. No, it was more because of the history of Monopoly that my brother and I share.
You see, we played a lot of Monopoly as young kids. I loved it, but my brother was WAY more serious about it than I was. He played for blood, and dragged the game out until I was begging to forfeit. He ALWAYS seemed to land on Boardwalk and Park Place first, and was ALWAYS able to afford them, along with a full set of houses, which then got traded in for hotels. Thus began his reign as Monopoly slumlord.
From there, it was all downhill for me. Even if I had accumulated some properties, he seemed to have an uncanny knack for collecting rent, receiving tax dividends, winning beauty contests, and passing GO. Meanwhile, I spent a lot of time in jail, paying taxes, paying rent, and mortgaging properties in order to pay the rent. His stack of colorful money grew, while mine dwindled down to ones and fives.
For those of you who lived on Mars and never played Monopoly, the way you win the game is when the other players go broke. But this standard of victory was not good enough for my brother. Oh, no! He had to force me to write out IOU’s long after I’d run out of money, and mortgaged all of my properties, making it impossible for me to make any money. From there on out, it was just me going through the motion of writing IOU’s until he finally gave in and let me lose, with a sinister chortle.
This pattern went on throughout our childhood years. He was a winner – I was a loser. Plain and simple. But, over the years, I kept that Monopoly game, along with many of the handwritten IOU’s, complete with it’s orange soda stain right in the middle of the board. I used it at a child care program I ran, and then it sat in the closet for years. But one time, several years ago, my brother came to Minnesota to visit. And I had to ask him the big question. Would he want to have a Monopoly rematch, as adults? Of course, he went for it.
Being older and wiser, I maneuvered my purchases wisely, acquiring enough properties to collect some rent of my own, even if he were to get Boardwalk and Park Place, as usual. Let’s just say that things didn’t go as they used to go, many years earlier. We were neck and neck for quite some time, but eventually HE started losing money, and I started collecting quite a stack of colorful bills. When he got to that point where he was mortgaging properties to pay his bills, I started smiling. I was WINNING at Monopoly…against my BROTHER! He did not choose to write out any IOU’s. He just gave up. I even took pictures to have proof of this monumental event. It was priceless!
So, now you know why that card was so significant. He got a kick out of it, too. On the front were the deeds for Boardwalk and Park Place, and inside were a Get Out Of Jail Free card and a You Won the Beauty Contest card. I even enclosed two golden $500 bills for spending money for his birthday.