Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Letters from Saturn: The Rules are the Rules

Dear John,
It is with great pleasure that I heard you embraced my energy on Saturday as you played in your first Monopoly tournament.
I love Monopoly for so many reasons. First, its rules are very simple and clear. It really irks me when people use those “house rules” to keep more money in the game. And have some of these people ever READ the actual rules? I couldn’t believe when people didn’t know that if you refuse to purchase a property it gets auctioned immediately. How do you think these properties get out into the game so the real trading—and building—can begin? The tournament rules are the ones that come with every Monopoly set, so there’s no excuse for people not to understand them or abide by them. They’re beautiful in their simplicity. I know you already know this…but I wish other people could see it like I can.
The whole building aspect of the game is one I adore. There’s nothing like the anticipation of plunking down cash for something real and solid like a group of houses. Just the thought of a whole group of houses on the reds or the oranges makes me so proud. And then, the even greater fun of waiting for those people to come around and slam right into them. Then it’s time for them to pony up. When they mortgage property to pay you and you land on it, you can smile as they lose out on the rent. It’s a wonderful thing, let me tell you. And then if they get the cash to un-mortgage them, they try to get out of paying that 10% fee to the bank. No way! You give the bank what you owe and you don’t cry about it.  
It’s funny that most people don’t see what I love about it the most: It’s ruthless. Why don’t the official rules use extra money for landing on free parking, or allow the bank to give loans to other people without mortgaging property? Because it takes longer to crush your opponents that way. The purpose of this game is to bankrupt your opponents. I don’t care if they’re 8 or 80, if they’re blood relatives, chosen family, or strangers. Once it’s GO time, they are all adversaries who do not deserve your mercy or kindness. Certainly, act civilly to them during the game, but in this contest, nice guys finish bankrupt.
Overall, I was pretty pleased with the way you played. In the first round, your opponents were all under 15 except for one guy. He got hold of the yellow color group right away, but no one landed on them much and he had made poor financial decisions, so that was all he had. Grabbing Park Place while you could was an excellent choice, even though that teenage girl wouldn’t trade you for Boardwalk, even though the offer you made her was completely fair. She held out and wanted to do it when she was almost out of money and STILL wanted to sell it for its stated value? Glad you refused. There was no benefit to you then since you would have had to invest heavily in houses and hotels on that strip. If there had been more than five minutes left in the game, you’d have done it. The railroads were the only monopoly you managed to grab the whole day, but they served you well and you came in second in the first round.
Your second-round performance left something to be desired. I’m not a believer in luck, but I’ll just say that Jupiter must have been off gambling at some casino instead of using his influence in your favor—likely with Neptune in tow—during that contest. You bargained shrewdly for the railroads, but then no one landed on them. And you just can’t compete with color groups on the entire first half of the board. Those hotels on the light purples really did you in. I think six people is too many for a game of Monopoly anyway, but that was how the tournament was set up, and rules are rules. At least you went down nobly in defeat. And that little 8-year-old brat who had no idea what he was doing was totally annoying. At least he could have put his money and property down on the table like the rest of you.
It’s amazing how many people were there to have FUN. Some astrological planets like Venus or Neptune are more concerned about enjoyment. When you sit down to a game like Monopoly, or any other competition, it is your sacred duty to compete and win. Remember that time that you destroyed your 7 year old nephew in chess? He had been making up the rules as he went along, and your mother had played with him before and hadn’t known any better. He learned something that day, didn’t he? THE RULES ARE THE RULES. You should always be striving to be better, so you’ll have a better chance of winning the next contest.
I wouldn’t be surprised if many of the participants weren’t channeling me last weekend. Oh well…if they’re concerned about something as frivolous as fun, that’s their problem.  I’m glad you made it to the second round and played in my honor. If you happened to have some fun unintentionally, there’s nothing to be done about that now.
On to other matters: You’ve got a nonfiction tarot book that needs my assistance. As I recall, you asked me to give you some time off to embrace your—I shudder to say it—“Neptunian side”, but it’s been too long now. This work isn’t going to edit itself. I look forward to our future collaboration in that area, and expect I will be hearing from you soon.
If I don’t answer right away, please accept my sincerest apologies; I’m trying to talk some sense into the United States Government before they do something colossally stupid with this whole sequester malarky. I agree about accepting the consequences of one’s actions, but even this goes too far for my conservative nature. Wish me luck; Neptune has been driving that bus for way too long anyway, and we’ve seen how reliable he can be.
Very truly yours,

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