What the HAYnes? Monopoly and America’s winning spirit

HUMOR – If you have not heard, there was big news this week over at Hasbro. At a time when we should probably be focused on filing our tax returns, the company responsible for bringing Monopoly to the world held a vote to choose a new game piece and to give one game piece the axe.

Americans are nothing if not easily distracted and anxious to rally behind a ridiculous cause, and so after a few weeks of casting votes the people have spoken. The old iron game piece is out and in its place is a sleek, metal cat.

I understand getting rid of the iron. No one uses those things anymore. The invention of the dryer made ironing our clothes a thing of the past. If Monopoly wanted to include a wrinkle-removing device among its game pieces, it would be more fitting to include a tiny die-cast dryer. But using either an iron or a dryer as your Monopoly game piece just screams, “I am going to spend all of my fake money paying rent on your hotel on Park Place.” The iron was not a winning piece, so its retirement seems fitting.

It is the addition of the cat that baffles me. Other game pieces in the running included a robot, guitar, helicopter, and diamond ring – all symbols of innovation, wealth, and prosperity – obvious winning game pieces. The only thing a cat symbolizes is a creature who feels entitled to a lavish lifestyle while making no contribution to said lifestyle.

I imagine the cat walking around the board, landing on your property and telling you, “I live here now. I am not paying rent. You are going to feed me and let me walk on your keyboard while you are trying to type. I am going to shed hair all over your nylons. Oh, and I am going to go to the bathroom in a little box which you are going to have to clean out periodically. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200.”

This cat is exactly what is wrong with America.

The fact that the cat won out over the robot or the helicopter frightens me for our future. What is happening to our innovative spirit? Where are the Americans who want to win? Where are our Benjamin Franklins and our Henry Fords and our Gene Roddenberrys? And whatever happened to the horseback rider and cannon game pieces?

In 1998 Hasbro hosted a similar gimmick in which a moneybag was chosen as the new game piece. The moneybag enjoyed nine years of prosperity until it was removed from Monopoly’s lineup of game pieces in 2007. We all know what happened in 2008.

In light of this knowledge, the commencement of the reign of the cat worries me. I did not vote for the cat. I will never choose the cat as my game piece. But I will continue to play the game with my winning top hat, and I am hoping to pay my taxes in Monopoly money this year.


Elise Haynes chronicles family life in her blog Haynes Family Yard Sale. Any opinions stated in this column are her own and not necessarily those of St. George News.

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Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

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