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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Games People Play

When Lane 1 and Lane 2 were little, we used to play Chutes and Ladders, Candy Land, Memory, Cooties and any other little kid board game ever made. We would play game-after-game, hour-after-hour.

I used to cheat. Yeah, I know. It sounds terrible, but do you have any idea how long those games can last? Just about the time you think, "Here is my ladder to the winner's circle," you land on a chute and it's back to the bottom for you. This would happen all too often, making a friendly game, a long painful journey.

Most of the time, I cheated in their favor. Just to let them win and get it over with. First the girl would get a big win, then the boy. Sometimes, after a little too much gloating from the winning child, I would cheat in my own favor. You know, to knock 'em down a peg. I can't have sore losers or bad winners. And thankfully, they never caught on to all of the cheating that was going on.

They loved playing those games. To this day, both remain big fans of board games. With all of the electronic toys, video and computer games, one might think they would be bored with those old fashioned games by now. They aren't.

The games they like now take even longer, and they are too smart for me to be able to cheat. Whenever Mr. Lane is in town, if our daughter even looks at the Monopoly game, I always say "Tag! You're it." And even though we are grownups, he always falls for that line.

Mr. Lane sat on the floor, playing Monopoly with our daughter a couple of days ago. She is 10. He is 36, however, acted 5.

After landing on Free Parking, he took the wad of cash he just won, fanned it out in his hand, began waving it at his face and proclaimed, "Oh my. It is sooo hot in here."

Lane 2 shook her head at her father and said, "You know Dad, this is a no gloat zone. Mom is going to yell at you if you keep acting like that."

I pretended not to be listening as the game went on. Once I could hear that she was almost out of money, I suddenly started paying attention. Mr. Lane landed in jail. With three rolls and a $50 fine, he could have been out. By rolling doubles, he also could have been out. I watched him roll time after time. I'm pretty sure the rules say you only lose a maximum of three turns once you pay the fine.

While he rotted away in jail, Lane 2 landed on one of his hotel covered properties. He giggled an evil laugh in her general direction, and told her what she owed him. I chimed in at that point, making up rules to help my girl.

"You know, jail bird, I'm pretty sure you are not allowed to collect on rent if you are in jail."

"No way!"

"Yes way!" Knowing he wouldn't, I said, "Read the rules."

"Well, crap. Fine kid. Hang out on my property for free. See if I care. I'll be out of jail soon, and I'll get plenty of money from you."

When he finally made it out of the pokey, he landed right on one of her properties that had a hotel. She and I giggled. She said, "Pay up Pops."

Rather than playing like a real live grownup and paying the child her rent, he took his lighter to the tiny hotel, charring the corner of the roof. Then he told her that her hotel was a burned up crack house that he wasn't paying to stay in.

"Mommy! Daddy is cheating! And he set my hotel on fire!"

Mr. Lane is a certified goofball and it makes me happy that he is a way bigger cheater than me.