Well, after a short hiatus, we return to the latest, and last round of the Blog Feud IV/ Blog World Series of Blogging 2011 between the dastardly translucent j.Bowman and myself (one hue above opaque).
This is the round for all the marbles (future pun intended – you’ll see).
For Round 5, those of you following will recall that there was to be a Random Wheel of Bullshit Topics to be spun. And spun it was. With full documentation, my opponent j.Bowman wrote out ten random topics (five from each of us) on a circle and spun a bottle (of either beer or tears…).
My randomly selected topic:
The ‘Game of LIFE’ is Bullshit, Real Life Is More Like…
What a fitting topic for the Random Wheel of Bullshit to provide, because anyone who has ever played the Milton Bradley game will know how much bullshit it is.
The Problem With The Game: Everybody “wins”. Not exactly true, as obviously there is an out-and-out winner (the person who accumulates the most wealth, LIFE experience tokens, etc.). But the problem is that even the “loser” manages to build up a pretty decent nestegg that those of us who live in the real world would find unbelievable.
The choice for retirement is Millionaire Estates or Countryside Acres. You really can’t say that is an altogether bad prospect. It’s not like you have the option of Destitution Woods or Male Prostitute Manor as a final resting place. This is clearly a game for optimists.
The LIFE experience tokens are particularly unrealistic. Even if you don’t collect any during the course of the game, there is still the opportunity to pick up some of them at the end of the game (barring them running out). That’s right, even if you are so sad as to not have collected LIFE tokens during the game, you can always throw a couple in at the end.
It’s just like real life, I suppose. You retire after working at the widget factory for thirty years to finally pursue all those things you’ve always wanted to do, but just never had the time. You finally build that gazebo, or read War and Peace, whatever. These are nice enough things, but hardly mind-blowing.
But in the Game of LIFE, the experience tokens you pick up include such things as “Discover a new planet”, “Write the Great American Novel”, or “Win the Nobel Peace Prize”.
This game is so stupid that basically everyone ends up with a fistful of money and a stack of ridiculous experiences that even the most accomplished people on this planet couldn’t even dream of. It is possible that even if you end up not “winning” the Game of LIFE, you could still be that 3rd place “loser” who composed a symphony, painted a masterpiece, went to the moon, etc.
But if you are reading this blog, chances are real life hasn’t been too kind to you and you know enough already to know that it isn’t anything like what Milton Bradley have been selling. Or is it? Real life actually is a lot like what Milton Bradley have been selling, just not in this particular box. No, real life is more like…
1. Hungry Hungry Hippos
The purpose of the game: The object of Hungry Hungry Hippos is actually quite unclear. We all know that there are marbles and they are going to get eaten by some hippos pretty damn quick. Hopefully by the hippo attached to the handle that my hand is rapidly slamming up and down. Why? I don’t know. All I know is that I want to gobble up those damned marbles so my three friends are left with nothing but some sore wrists.
How it is like real life: Is it meant to be an allegory about our all-consuming culture? Doubtful. But let’s interpret it that way. It’s really just shows how empty our lives can be and how competitive we are willing to be to fill that void at the cost of others. Throw a bunch of marbles (or any insignificant object) into a crowd and just see how hungry hungry we all can get.
The purpose of the game: Remove blocks from a tower without knocking the thing over, while you simultaneously stack on top the removed pieces. When it inevitably falls over (as it will), you begin to secretly hate the person who was at fault, even though you contributed just as much to the inevitable collapse. And then you play again.
How it is like real life: Remember the recession? How about the one before that? And the one before that? Our economy is essentially just one big game of Jenga that all of us are playing. We get in way over our heads financially and just keep stacking shaky things together until the whole thing collapses…and then we do it again. And again. And again.
The odds of ending up in real life Millionaire Estates are slim to nil, while even a respectable finish in Countryside Acres takes years of smart planning, decision making and dedication to a goal that the majority of people just aren’t willing to try.
3. Mystery Date
The purpose of the game: I dunno, something about having a matching outfit and trying not to end up with a loser date – the “dud”.
How it is like real life: There are going to be some awful dates and more than a few duds. It isn’t at all like the Game of LIFE where you get hitched at a pre-determined point in the game (it is literally a STOP) without so much as even going on a date. Also, there is no such thing as divorce in the Game of LIFE. Mystery Date doesn’t have that either, but you’ve got to believe that a few people who have played seriously considered trying to make it work with the dud anyways.
The purpose of the game: Roll five dice and score points with different combinations of results.
How it is like real life: Nobody understands the rules or the point of it all. Seriously. No one. If you think you understand how Yahtzee or life work, you are just lying to yourself. You might as well write a self-help book. Nobody knows what’s going on and we all just sort of fake our way through it, pretending to have fun and giving high-fives when we get five-of-a-kind or whatever.
The Game of LIFE and the snake-oil salesmen who write self-help books are pretty much the same. They try to tell us that there is some magic formula for happiness and success and it’s a straight-line from the Start to the Finish. Real life just isn’t like that. We have no idea what game we are in or how to win.
A lot like Yahtzee.