Now that they're of an age, the girls have started getting board games from Santa to help them while away the long winter. This year, he brought them Life - you know, the game you spend in a car, spewing hydrocarbons into the atmosphere, on an endless quest to complete your goals? Yeah, that's Life, and lately, it's been my life, too, although that's another post. Anywhoo, as befits our age and times, Life is a far, far more complicated game now than it was in the seventies. That, and the print on the little squares is WAY smaller and WAY harder to read than I remember; they must have shrunk that print by 50% at least. (And if they haven't, shut up about it - I don't want to know.)
Now, where was I? Ah yes, Life, and the playing thereof. So the game is more complex, and the path one takes through the game is correspondingly longer, but the other accoutrements are much as I remember them. There's still an unhealthy focus on heteronormative relationships that follow a tightly proscribed path from school to marriage to first house to parenthood to second house to retirement, and eventually, one supposes, to death. Then again, no one outside the actual players has to know if the little peg you put in your passenger seat makes you into a matched set or not, so there's that. College is, fittingly, a much more expensive process than it used to be, and every new grad leaves academe burdened with an onerous amount of debt, although I noticed that none of the squares immediately post-college mentioned possibilities like, "Live in an apartment with three other people and squabble over who ran up the electric bill and drank all the OJ," which was certainly part of my experience. Maybe that's just not the post-millennial reality these days, I dunno.
Now that we've gotten more proficient at the game, I've started to notice a few trends on the part of m offspring. India is an unrelenting capitalist. Her take on the game is that it's all about money, except when it's not, which is never Her focus? Wealth, wealth, and more wealth. She takes full advantage of every opportunity to winkle a few more dollars out of the game: Long-Term Investments, Spin to Win, marriage and baby gifts, you name it, she has her eagle eye on it, and woe betide any fellow player who forgets to give India her due. Celeste, on the other hand, is all about procreation. Her main focus is stuffing her car full of progeny, to the point where they're stacked up in her car like a Romney housepet on a family excursion. She gets irked if she doesn't have a full complement by the time she's halfway around the board. Both these developments thrill me. "I've done my job," I remarked to Warren after we completed a game.
"How's that?" he asked.
"I now know which one of the girls is going to fund my expensive retirement village, and which one is going to visit me there."
I think I just found Milton-Bradley's new marketing angle: Play Life with your children! Figure out your retirement strategy now!
UPDATED TO ADD: We just now finished playing our nightly round. The final tally:
Mommy - just under $1 mil.
Cici - $1.8 million and change.
India - $2.5 million. TWO. POINT. FIVE.
I stand by my earlier statement.