The other day a friend sent me a joke: how do you know if the girl you’re dating is a keeper? Play Monopoly, and if she chooses the iron, marry her.
I know it’s lame, but it did remind me of my childhood days when Monopoly was still big. We spent days huddled around the board, laughing, crying, sometimes even fighting. It was probably one of the best babysitters my parents ever bought, keeping us busy during rainy days and winter nights.
But it also taught us invaluable lessons, like the importance of a steady income (every player received R200 every time they passed Go), how to budget, saving for a rainy day and obviously the value of property and money.
I still own a complete set with a stack of yellow R1 notes. It must be a collector’s item by now.
One’s ability to save for a rainy day was truly tested by the dreaded General Repairs and Street Repairs cards ordering the unlucky recipient to pay up for every house or hotel owned.
That card ruined many a property empire and often served to level the playing field somewhat.
The one thing, though, that Monopoly and the General Repairs/Street Repairs cards didn’t teach us, was the emotional strain involved in property renovations or building alterations.
As someone who is in the process of having his entire kitchen rebuilt, I suggest the wording on those cards should have been: make general repairs on all your properties – for each house pay R25 and for each hotel R100. And sleep on a bed of nails in a sawdust factory for the next 17 nights.
Maybe if we were forced to grasp the enormity of the task as children, we’d be able to do it better as adults. Or we’d have the sense to avoid it altogether.
Fortunately, the one that wears the pants in the house didn’t ever pick the iron as her playing token, so it’s no surprise that she has taken charge of the kitchen project. It seems that we will survive the ordeal with probably no more than three years of therapy.
And who knows, by next week this time our Gillespie Street house could see a rise in value, putting it on par with those on Eloff Street.