Many years ago, our children received a board game for Christmas that mimicked real life. The description and the instructions for the game weren’t needed. The game was simply called Life. The object of the game was basic; buy a house, get married, pay bills, and see if you had enough gas or money to make it to retirement acres with your hair and dignity intact. I must admit that at first I was excited about the game. It had the potential of instructing my children in fiscal responsibility under the guise of being fun. After 15 minutes of playing the game however, I realized that playing the game as a prep course for life would be as useless as buying a Monopoly game to prepare for a real estate exam.
My excitement short lived, I spun the dice and set out on my quest for a suitable life vocation. My oldest son opted not to go to college; he wanted to be a professional basketball player. I knew the game was a stretch because I’ve never seen a 4-foot ten-inch guard in the NBA.I had overestimated the worth of the game when his salary was a woeful $20,000 a year. Considering that most professional basketball players make the the yearly equivalent salary of the gross national product of Chile, I was in for surprises.
Two rolls of the dice later, I found myself practicing medicine, married, toting six young children in my dilapidated station wagon, living in a rundown mobile home behind on my taxes. My first piece of reality beside the salary was the taxes. Fully half my board game salary went to paying taxes. The easiest question to answer was how could a physician live in a rundown mobile home? That’s easy, it’s the new norm for doctors under Obamacare. I had to choose between malpractice insurance and indoor plumbing. Poverty did offer a significant and unforeseen benefit. The fire in the bathroom was contained and covered by our fire insurance so it never spread to the house. It pays to have an outhouse.
My station wagon and four spontaneous generation children later, I was fast approaching my retirement years with my dignity and hair mostly intact. I did get two bonus cards that read, “collect $150,000 for developing a non-creeping swimsuit, and “collect $15,000 for a self peeling potato.” Sadly I finished the game NOT in Millionaire Acres but Retirement Acres. After taxes with only a few spare dollars to my name, my son the basketball star had to move in with me. After his sports career was over he had no money left after he foolishly spent his money on gold diggers. Hey wait a minute, a child moving back in with his parents and having no money? Maybe this game does teach haunting realism.