Life as a Board Game

by Brian on April 8, 2010

in A Parent in Israel

Our life has become like a board game. Specifically, one that I created 38 years ago.

When I was in sixth grade in 1972, my friend David Saunders and I decided to create a Monopoly-like game with a dice, play money, and various cards which players would pick from a pile and then act on.

We called it the “Consumer Game” and it reflected our 11-year-old belief in what it was like to be an adult. The way you played was like this: each card you drew entitled you to buy some sort of appliance for the home. There were cards for washing machines, dishwashers, refrigerators, stereos and the like.

Once you had acquired the appliances, they started breaking down. The aim of the game was to accumulate enough money to fix them.

I remember conducting meticulous research for the game by going to our local Sears department store and taking notes on prices. The most memorable was the car which any self-respecting, slightly edgy suburban family needed to own: a brand-new Volkswagen Beetle. The cost: only $1,999.

We’re no longer kids, of course. It’s now 2010 and within a period of just a few weeks, it seems our entire world of very adult conspicuous consumption is falling apart. The dishwasher is backed up with sewage water, the microwave lit up like a menorah before sparking to an inglorious state of disrepair, and the fancy steel nightlight next to my bed suddenly refused to turn off (I had to shut off the electricity for the entire house before the bulb cooled off enough for me to remove it).

Then my wife Jody’s cell phone wouldn’t wake up one morning, our water filter started leaking, and the Junkers system we use on cloudy days to produce instant heat for the shower is, according to the repair person, filled with rocks that cause the temperature to incessantly rise and fall, making for a cleansing routine akin to navigating a car through stop and start traffic, hand always ready at the clutch.

And don’t even get me started about the leaky roof that’s going to cost NIS 30,000 ($8,000) to fix.

My friend David and I never finished the Consumer Game. We couldn’t figure out how to end it. I mean, it’s not like you can repair all your appliances in one go and that’s it for the rest of your life.

I’m just hoping that our 15-year-old Toyota Corolla isn’t the next to go. With taxes on vehicles of nearly 100% in Israel, I think it will cost a tad more to replace than that state-of-the-art Beetle back in 1972.

Mr. Monopoly made his first appearance on the Israelity blog.

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