Monday, January 3, 2011

Broken and Beat in Kyiv

The classic game of Monopoly comes in many different versions.  My daughter has the "Pink Boutique" version that comes in a fashionable pink suede box and offers trips to wonderful shopping spots around the globe with a simple roll of the dice.  My son owns the latest Monopoly World edition that comes with titles to cities around the world, six credit cards, and an ATM machine.  Somewhere in my past I owned the traditional game with paper money and a race car playing piece that we all fought over. 

At the beginning of our modern day game of Monopoly, we each had 20 million dollars.  I was the only adult at the table and sadly, twenty minutes later, I was broke, had mortgaged seven large European cities and owed my daughter a million dollars for an illegal loan not allowed by the Monopoly guy.  My son was building sky-rise hotels in Istanbul and Kyiv and charging his own mother $9 million every time I stopped by to say hello.  It didn't take long to realize that my children had taken all of my money and I was in debt up to my ears.   

I was fully aware that this was just a game, but a sinking feeling came over me as I looked at all of my foreclosed properties that my kids were scooping up for pennies. I had to wonder if I was simply part of a generation of people who did not invest wisely.  I thought buying Athens, Greece would be a good decision.... Apparently not.     I invested in space travel and it seems you can't build hotels in space yet, so there was no future income there.  I should have bought Cape Town and Belgrade and loaded them with huts, houses and swanky hotels.  But no.... I was paying luxury taxes and income taxes and investing in solar energy that just didn't pay off. 

My millions dwindled to nothing when I arrived at my son's doorstep in Kyiv.  He was in jail when I arrived, but was quick to get the message to me that I owed him $9 million dollars and he hoped I enjoyed the view from the monster hotel he had built. I swiped my credit card in the ATM machine and it made the most unpleasant sound indicating that I had insufficient funds.  It's the kind of sound that elicits a Pavlovian response when heard and I immediately began shuffling my feet and making apologies. My daughter did not want me to leave the game broken and homeless and kept offering me free passage through her cities and money under the table.  It would carry me for another round until I wound up in Kyiv again and could hear my son's laughter echoing from jail.  He never got $2million dollars for passing go, but he didn't need to. He laid around in jail all day and watched the money roll in from friends and family who strayed off their paths.   

I was broke and homeless and my children owned everything.  But who do you think they turned to when their bellies needed filling.  Mom, of course!  It's good to be needed.

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