The Point We Always Reach

Dear Older Brother,

This Christmas, we’d like you to play Monopoly with us again.

It’ll be a fun game. One, because you’re good at it. Two, because you’re a lucky person. And three, because you’ll be playing with people who love you — who give you the benefit of the doubt.

We know you’ll probably win. You don’t often lose.

When you pull ahead, we’ll be glad for you. We each started on the same square with the same fan of colourful cash. The dog, the shoe, the racing car, the spinning wheel — all different, but made of the same plasticky stuff.

First you’ll claim the railroads. Then you’ll take the utilities. And you’ll bargain your way into our board’s most strategic corners.

Sounds great to us.

Next, you’ll erect an ominous row of hotels and houses. You’ll squeal RENT with mounting glee. That’s just what the game does to people.

Greg — it’s always Greg — will be the unlucky one that lands on Piccadilly (hotel) and Bond Street (three houses) in two consecutive rolls. You’ll accept his petty cash and odd properties and call it even. You’re a fair person like that.

Greg will wander off to find cake.

But that won’t end the game. The game goes on.

So you’ll put hotels on Greg’s old properties. That’s how you’ll get Chris. Chris is never much of a threat, but he’ll be even less of one with his finest real estate facedown.

This is the point we always reach.

The moment the game is no longer worthwhile. At which we no longer hope to win — but merely to pass GO one more time before our rightful obliteration. Before your annual victory dance.

You’ll remember this point well, because you tend to cry TREASON at what happens next.

One, we make you our common enemy. Two, we pool our resources to rebalance the game. And three, we stop giving you the benefit of the doubt. You may still win, but at least we’ll stand a chance.

Older Brother, we’d really like you to play Monopoly with us again. But this Christmas, please don’t throw the board when the rest of us join forces to beat you.

Lots of love,
Your Little Brothers

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