If Life Were a Game
by John Norberg, humor columnist s

Some 15 years ago my wife and I sat down to play a game of Monopoly with our youngest daughter, Beth--who was a little girl at the time.

She's grown now and off on her own. Today as I look back on it all, I can still remember that evening very well.

I remember it because we still haven't finished that Monopoly game!

If I were going to think of another name for Monopoly, it would be Eternity. The game goes on forever.

You've all played this -- buying property, developing houses and hotels until you become a rich mogul and do what rich moguls do: Force your friends and family into bankruptcy.

This game was created in 1935 and it hasn't changed much over the years.

If it were invented today it would be different. In today's version, after becoming a rich mogul the winner would ultimately get a TV reality show. And instead of forcing friends and family into bankruptcy, he or she would just fire everyone.

Our kids all loved to play games when they were young. All kids love games. They especially love to play games with their parents. The problem is, all parents are always busy.

Little girl: "Daddy, do you have time to play Monopoly with me?"

Daddy, thinking to himself: I have to mow the lawn, change the oil in the car, go to the grocery story, pay bills, fix the leaky faucet, fix the gutter, paint the fence and finish work from the office. Monopoly takes hours. There's no way I can do this. I'm just going to have to tell her the truth.

Daddy: "I'd love to play Monopoly. But I get the top hat."

The main difference between work and kids is that one always waits until you get around to it. The other is gone before you know it.

You know which one is which.

Part of the reason that Monopoly takes so long in our house is that no one really wants to end the game. When a player is in deep trouble with no money and is about to go out, someone helps him.

Ultimately, these Monopoly games don't really end with a winner. They just stop because no one can stay awake any longer.

We've noticed this tend is continuing when we play games with our grandchildren. And it's not just Monopoly. The other day we played a game of Uno that lasted through a pizza, several servings of ice cream, two bowls of popcorn and a large can of nuts.

Hey, I was hungry.

The idea of Uno is to get rid of all the cards in your hand. But every time my wife and I got down to our last cards, our grandkids hit us with a card that forced us to pick up cards.

They played these "draw four" cards with great glee.

"I'm calling the Guinness Book of World Records," I told my wife later that evening. "That is probably the longest Uno game ever. Why does it take so long for someone to win at these games?"

Wife: "It takes so long because kids don't play to win."

Me: "If they don't play to win, why do they play?"

Wife: "They play to play. They enjoy playing with us and they play to make the game last as long as they can."

I've been thinking about that a lot lately.

And I've decided to call our daughter Beth.

I wonder if she has time to play Monopoly with us?

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