January 1, 2013
London Report Part 3 - Monopoly
I am in London with my Englishman and we are having a wonderful time. His family is lovely. They have opened up their homes to my son and me and it has been great. I see the Englishman in a new light here. He is in his element, in the city he loves, with the people that matter most, and I love him even more here.
He is a remarkable and I have tremendous respect for how he loves his family. He is a brillinat son, brother and father. To clarify, nothing I have said to describe this family applies when they are playing Monopoly. When it comes to this game, these fantastic people are quite simply, certifiably insane.
We were at the home of the Englishman's litle brother who is married with three sons. There was another family with us and they were fabulous. A couple with two beaiutoiful daughters. Proper English people with killer accents and nice manners. They had no idea what was about to happen to them.
The Englishman suggested a "friendly" game of Monopoly after dinner. His brother jumped right in, as did his three sons, my boy, the two yound girls, and their father. Important to note the man joining the game and including his angelic children, is a detective with the Metropolitan Police in London.
It started inocently. The policeman was asked to be banker since it is common knowledge anyone in the immediate family of the Englishman is going to cheat. By immediate family of course I mean anyone who plays Monopoly with this group becomes family and will start cheating almost immediately.
Sidebar: An average amount of time to play Monopoly is an hour or two. This group will not play unless they have 4 hours set aside. By 4 hours of course I mean that needs to be the minimum every player needs to commit in order to properly experience the game. Their game, not a normal game.
I cannot properly explain how detailed the cheating has become for these people, but I will share a couple of the important adaptations they implement when playing.
1) They negotiate indemnity for themselves as part of purchasing property. For example, if I own 3 railroads and someone owns the one I am missing, they can sell me the railroad I need and negotiate that I give them indemnity so if they ever land on it, they don't have to pay me rent.
2) If I own 2 properties in a set and someone else owns the third, we can join forces and own the set together. We each have indemnity from paying rent if we land on it, we share in the cost of houses and hotels, and we share the money won when others land on the set.
Sidebar, if we own a set together and my partner runs into finanical difficulty, he does not need my permission to sell off the houses and keep the money for himself. Important to note that this happened in our game which caused a 45 minute delay and massive headache.
3) They loan money to each other through in an insane series of demands. If you land on a property and owe soemeone $1000, you can trade anything and everything you have as a loan against what you own and pay it back, with interest, when you have a positive cash flow.
Important to note that when the game starts, there is a 30 minute ritual/competition to see who can be the racecar. Apparently it is coverted by all and they roll dice, play rock-paper-scissors, thumb wars, guess numbers, and after someone wins 6 of the mini events, they are the racecar.
After 3 hours the policeman and his kids were sucked into the vortex and they became cheaters. There was screaming and extremne hand gestures as the innocent little girls became sharks. The policeman was a bit confused and appeared to actually be frightened.
This lovely detective, who is not permitted to carry a gun by law, sat in a room with my Englishman and his family and I could see him wishing he had a gun so he could take his own life rather than play Monopoly and watch his children jump over to the dark side.
I have learned a lot about my Englishman's family on this trip. Most of it good, some of great, and then there is Monopoly. It is the dark family secret that I feel both blessed to have been let in on, and also disturbed that they shared. I am scared.
I don't think I am permitted to write about the game of Monopoly and how it is played here, so there may be some fall out. I may be punished, or perhaps shunned, but it needed to be said. I'd loove to hear some of your family Monopoly rituals. Share the madness and keep the faith.