Thursday, March 17, 2016

First Comes Monopoly...

I first started dating my wife in the early nineties. This story is from the very beginning of our relationship--only three months in!  Back then, I knew virtually zero about board games. I only knew of the standards of the time: Risk, Trivial Pursuit, oh, and Monopoly. I would win Monopoly games by attrition. As a rule, I would never trade a property. I would rather have played a ten-hour game then let someone have a railroad.

So there we were, me and my then-girlfriend, settling in to play a game of Monopoly. After about an hour, it was pretty obvious there were, indeed, not going to be any Monopolies of any color, and that this was going to be a long.....long....long game. After about an hour, she said, "We should trade." I calmly explained to her that in no way, shape, or form, do I ever trade.  Her response was "This game will last forever, let's trade."

This went on for ten minutes.  Twenty.  Thirty.  It is at this point of the story I would like to point out that, in my twenties, I was not the calm, cool, collected adult you see before you, but rather a short tempered, competitive jerk. I once kicked a friend out of my house (the same friend that, thankfully, did not dissolve our friendship, and who remains my best friend to this day...And edits this blog) for beating me at several games of You Don't Know Jack.  But, I digress.  I finally agreed to the trade, it was a fair trade.  It was, however, The Fatal Moment for me, for as soon as I made this trade, I proceed to land on her property every time I went around the board.  Sometimes twice. As hotels started to rise, my blood began to boil.  Now, my temper had gotten me into many bad situations in my youth, and I was sure this was going to be one of those situations. As I landed on her hotel for the last time, with very little money left, I snapped. I hit the edge of the board and sent  all the pieces flying into the air, mumbling an R-rated version of how I should have never traded the property. I was mad, and in my head, I was like "Oh, great, she's going to send me packing.  Good job, Jim."

When I looked up after trying to get out of Rage Mode, there was my girlfriend, calmly picking up all the pieces and putting the game away. After she picked it all up, she just sat on the couch next to me. It was at that moment a light went on it my head, and I looked at her and said, "I love you." It was the first time I had ever said it to her. She kind of looked at me weird and said, "...What?" I explained to her that I had just acted like a eight year-old, and she just took it in stride, and if she was willing to put up with that, then that's pretty special. And I love her for putting up with me.

Over twenty years later, that's still the last board game I ever flipped. And I definitely don't play Monopoly anymore, But I will always remember the first time in my life someone truly accepted me, flaws and all.

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