By Heather O.
It seems like a simple game, right? The perfect game for preschoolers–no reading, some basic counting and familiarity with numbers, a few moral lessons thrown in. Harmless, right?
I’m here to tell you, friends, that the game Chutes and Ladders was created by somebody who doesn’t know children AT ALL. Or at least by somebody who was never asked to play the game 5 times a day. Or some minion of Satan who knew exactly what he was doing, and is laughing his little red bum off at all of us mothers forced to play his sadistic game.
I’ll tell why it’s such a hideous game. It. Never. Ends. And it’s not like Monopoly, that seems endless, or Risk, which just takes forever. In both of those games, you can always see the end coming, and it becomes inevitable, inescapable, a painful death died slowly while your older brother cackles from his perch waving his property card of Boardwalk with a hotel in front of you as you look at your own properties, all of which are mortgaged except for Water Works. (Yeah, guess who played Monopoly a lot as a kid. And guess who always lost. And guess who has a big brother who loves to play games where he can just squuueeeeze the life out of his opponents.)
Chutes and Ladders is not like that. The end is not inevitable, nor is it even predictable. Just when you think you might be winning, BAM, you land on one of those stinkin’ slides, and you are back down. You work your way up again, maybe catching a ladder or two, and BAM, you’re back down again, only this time you are farther away. And even when the players are on the top row, and you think, “Surely, this will end”—well, sister, I’m here to say, even that top row ain’t no guarantee of freedom.
It’s jarring, it’s frustrating, and it can’t be good for you. To have your goal in sight so often, only to be beaten down, again and again. Really, must we teach our children such a painful lesson so early in life? It’s truly a game designed to breed the ultimate pessimist. Hm, that’s a good argument. Maybe I could paint that on a picket sign, and go picket Toys R Us, or something, to MAKE. IT. STOP.
Of course, if I did that, I’m sure all the employees would see through me.
“Who’s that?” somebody would say, pointing to me as I raised my fist to, um, injustice?
“Oh, that’s just Heather. She’s just a mom who has lost her mind. Too many games of Chutes and Ladders, you see,” somebody else would say, no doubt as she rang up more and more of those evil past times.
“Oh, right”, the first person would say, comprehension dawning in his face.
Maybe the makers of this afternoon delight are just all part of the caterpillar conspiracy. In addition to their little squash feast, those foul beings just destroyed all of our corn this month too. Probably while we were playing Chutes and Ladders. Hmm. How conveniently distracting…. Oh, right, like playing a boardgame that never ends while my corn is mercelessly eaten by worms is just a coincidence. Get real.
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