The Mountain Times

°F Sat, April 19, 2014

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The day the iron got the boot

I heard the news today, oh boy. I was on my way to work, just entering downtown, when the radio announcer gave me the news. The Monopoly iron was getting the boot - as opposed to the boot token which could have resulted in a word play frenzy for the media. I was unaware that Hasbro was planning the retirement of a token, so when I heard the proclamation I have to admit I was shocked. Though I didn't actually blurt out, "What the hell?" my brain was a little frazzled.

The iron? Why the iron? I loved the iron. It was one of the most petite game pieces and it didn't tip over like the stupid dog or the ship. It had a handle which made it easier to maneuver especially if you were sitting close to Connecticut Avenue and your game piece was strolling on Ventnor. The iron was often my token of choice.

By the time I pulled into the parking lot and huffed up five flights of stairs (my self-imposed cardio workout) I had all sorts of conspiracy theories concocted. Why the iron? Was it a sign of the times? Women's lib. We don't iron any more. It was once designated as women's work. It's sexist. Irons are obsolete - unless we are talking about a ceramic one that flattens our hair. How could they mess with tradition? Bring back my beloved iron (which I actually still plug in and use every morning.)

When I got to my desk and signed on to my laptop, the first thing I did was a Google search on the Monopoly iron. That's when I discovered there was no serious basis for the iron getting the boot. It was a Facebook popularity contest! Really? Is this how we topple tradition these days?

If we are going to make changes to the iconic games of our Boomer childhoods, let's do it across the board (no pun intended.)
Chutes and Ladders - this is a major lawsuit waiting to happen: Kids climbing ladders and sliding down chutes with no helmets and kneepads. Sorry, this entire game needs to be scrapped. Like they say, "It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt."
Clue - weapons include a dagger, a candlestick, a rope, a wrench, a revolver and a lead pipe. Shouldn't these be updated to automatic assault rifles, dirty bombs, machetes and cyber attacks?
Life - time to change up the cars to minivans. Money, promissory notes, stock certificates - no one has these today. Goal of the game needs to be survival of bankruptcy court.
Operation - where's the malpractice insurance option?
Mouse Trap - yep, this one still makes sense. There are all sorts of technological advances in the mouse-catching field, yet a little peanut butter on the old-fashioned, wooden spring trap is still the most efficient way to eradicate the little rodents.

And since we are making upgrades to Monopoly, how about replacing houses with condos and townhomes? Shouldn't the hotels be times shares? A luxury tax for $150 - don't we wish?

The Chance cards are also outdated. A bank dividend of $50 or a $200 pay off for a bank error in my favor? Ain't happening.  Let's talk ATM fees, late-fee penalties on credit cards and soaring interest rates on loans. And how about the one for getting elected as Chairman of the Board and paying each player $50? Bribery rates are exorbitant. No way an election would only set the candidate back fifty bucks a voter.

The only truly realistic card is the assessment for street repairs. This was always the killer card you dreaded after you had built your empire of houses and hotels from Baltic to Broadway. You were obligated to pay $40 per house and $115 per hotel. If you had not collected rent in a long while, this card could cause you to start mortgaging properties to pay up. Passing go was a drop in the bucket against the street repair assessment.

Let them take my iron, I don't play Monopoly any more anyway. Who has the time? And if I do have the time to relax with a board game, I want something that challenges me. I'm going for Scrabble, though it is tough to find an opponent these days. When a player tries to spell words the same way he does in texts, well you may as well just go do a crossword puzzle by yourself. Or go iron some shirts.