Tuesday, March 28, 2017

I'm getting old

A couple weeks ago the big news story was how the tokens in Monopoly were being changed to be more "up to date" (someone made a comment about how "kids today" don't recognize what a thimble is. Well, that's their problem and not ours, and the more cranky Tinfoil Hattie side of me says they'll be crying when civilization collapses and they prick their fingers trying to sew coyote hides into cloaks).

So they now have a t-rex, a rubber duckie, a cat, a couple other things I forget....and they're losing the thimble and the old shoe and the wheelbarrow.....not that any of those had all THAT much to do with Monopoly or what it was all about (then again, neither does a t-rex).

(Random childhood memory: stealing the the little "iron" token out of the family Monopoly game for my doll house)

I will say I guess I'm relieved for our culture that the "poo" emoji didn't win a place on the board (apparently it was in the running).

Anyway, cynical me says that they will now be able to market BOTH "classic" and "new" Monopoly, with different token sets. Or maybe even sell sets of the tokens as add-ons.

(And I seem to remember a newer version of the game where, instead of handling paper money, you have an "atm card" and there's some kind of battery gizmo that keeps track of how much money you have. That feels....wrong, somehow. And what happens if the gizmo's batteries run out mid-game? Monopoly games can go on FOREVER)

There's also a version I saw advertised a while back where it was less about getting and holding property as an "investment" and more about bling and (apparently) impressing your fellow players by how much you spent, which....I don't know, I guess that does seem like Monopoly For The 21st Century.

(Cue the ad from another source, with the guy commenting: "I'm in debt up to my eyeballs!")

Monopoly was a weird game anyway. We had some house rules when I was a kid (no auctioning unwanted properties, for example) that were different but I don't remember that we ever finished a game....we just played until everyone got bored and then decided who had the most money and they were the winner. Or, when my brother and I were younger, someone got mad and upset the board (the old "whoopsie!" maneuver) and that ended the game.

Monopoly. And Life - another game that is kind of interminable and depressing and probably isn't a good way to prep kids for adulthood.

We liked Mille Bornes better in my household - a card-based "road rally" game, that, once I hit 11 or so and started taking "baby French" in school, had the added attraction that the cards were bilingual. And it was just FUN to say "Panne d'Essence, oh ho ho ho ho" (mimicking the stereotypical "French laugh") when you played that card on an opponent.

And Sorry. Sorry was also fun.

But anyway. I thought of that today because now Crayola is on the "Hey, you know what would be fun? Changing something Gen-Xers remember from their childhood:

We are altering our 24-count box. Pray we do not alter it further.

Yeah, they're apparently voting one color "off the island"

This kind of thing....I don't know, I get updating. (oooh. I know - they're taking out Peach, which used to be called "Flesh," until someone pointed out that there are very few people for whom that was actually an accurate "flesh" color). But this does seem calculated to generate drama (Well, **I'm** talking about it).

But crayons were weird, anyway. I remember in school, some grades, there was a limit set on how big a box you could have in your schoolkit - in fact, it may very well have been the 24 count box. An early experiment in trying to force equality on the kids? If so, a weird one, because crayons were cheap and what we actually got harassed for was clothing and toys. But it was an early lesson for me in "work vs. home" - at school, I had my mingy 24-color set, but at home, my parents got me the 96-crayon box - the biggest one available then, with the little sharpener (that never really worked) on the back.

(Actually, I think a few years, we were told to get the 8-count box, which is really useless for pretty much ANYTHING other than coloring in maps, where supposedly four colors are all you need)

But yeah.

And I wonder: could my recent burst of purchasing various toys (vintage Ponies, the "reproduction 80s" Strawberry Shortcake and Blueberry Muffin dolls, the Care Bears that Build-a-Bear did) somehow part of the "I'm getting old" thing - the desire to cling to things that were vaguely familiar back then, back just before I entered high school, when I was on that cusp between kid-dom and adolescence?

I mean: there were a lot of things about grade school I disliked (and I actively loathed junior high).

But I do miss that whole childhood thing where you could create an entire world out of some blocks and your imagination, or where you could almost believe fairies lived in a hollow log, or where you could draw whatever you wanted at it was "good" because you hadn't developed that snarky Inner Critic yet.

High school was in some ways better- I was more challenged at school (tougher academic standards and the teachers treated us more like adults) and socially things were better (I made more friends), but I still struggled to negotiate the more obscure social details and I wasn't really ready to be a full-fledged grown-up.

(In some ways, I still am not. One of the women at church Sunday commented that the lipstick I was wearing lit up my whole face and made me look prettier, and then she teased me: "She's out looking for a man" and I laughed ruefully and said, "I wouldn't have time for one if I found one" but also to a certain extent I could have said: "I wouldn't know what to do with one if I found one")

But yeah. The world has changed so vastly and is changing so vastly that really? I would like my crayons unchanged, thanks so much.

(And "Flesh" as a color name was gone by the time I was a kid - I am pretty sure "peach" replaced it, though it was the color we all used to indicate Euro-American flesh.)

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