"Hi, Tony. Welcome to the group."
Seriously... this is a big deal. I've not lost a game of Monopoly since 1985. It used to drive my friends crazy because they would even cheat and I would still come out on top. The rush of winning a 3-4 hour game was all too appealing to a teenager trying to feel good in the awkwardness of high school.
So I essentially haven't lost a game of Monopoly in 20 years.
Granted, I haven't played Monopoly in about 8 years.
The last time I played it was against my wife. We had purchased a computer version of Monopoly and I found that the thrill of winning by taking from someone else (especially someone else I loved) didn't have the appeal it once did. So I kind of dropped away from the game and went on to build Jenga towers that relied more on chance than cold-hearted acquisition.
But today, through an interesting set of circumstances, I ended up playing a game of Monopoly against two strangers. People I didn't know... whom I had no affection for other than them being my game neighbors.
So we played.
The rattle of dice. The collection of $200 upon passing "Go." The money collected on "Free Parking." (Yes, I know that's always a disputable issue, but we played that way) The sting of "Go directly to jail" and the joy of rolling doubles to get out.
After an hour we had to call it quits, and so the question remained of who had won. The girl to my left had lots of money but very little properties; the guy across from me had a few scattered properties but not much beyond that; I had a moderate amount of money with two monopolies and a house on one.
I knew within two more hours the game would be mine.
It felt good. I started to feel superior. "Silly players," I thought. "Don't you know you're not supposed to buy anything on the first two corners of the board? Muh-ha-ha-ha-ha!"
Then I caught the Holy Spirit tapping on my heart.
Isn't it funny how easy it is to slip into old habits? How quickly we can go from desiring the best for another and then wanting to feel just a wee bit superior? How often we want to have the last word on something and have it be the most clever thing ever said?
Then again... maybe it's "just a game."
Or maybe that's just what we tell ourselves.
I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards... Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 2:4,11)