Tag Archives: Monopoly

Monopoly Tactics

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Good morning, dear reader!  How are you today?

We have very strange relationships with locations, don’t we?  Our lives are personalised Monopoly boards.  Knowing where the best pubs in your area are is like owning all of the stations, visiting our best friends is like landing on Community Chest, and our homes are obviously Go (although, sadly, we tend not to be awarded £200 every time we get there).

What’s your equivalent to owning hotels on Mayfair and Park Lane?  Where do you go each day that makes you think of picking up a Chance card?  Is there anywhere in your life that may as well be Jail?

Like a game of Monopoly, life tends to bring us back to the same places again and again. It might be a favourite coffee shop or just the place where you happen to work, but you will return to places and build up impressions of them over time, whether it’s over a few days, several months, or a lifetime.  This can be a very good thing: Covent Garden (as in the real place, not the Monopoly square) has been the location of some of my favourite moments in life so far.  I’m thinking in particular of the starry, chilly evening a few years ago, when my dear friend Mario and I went and saw the Jack Daniels Christmas tree made of barrels. We were probably on our way to the theatre or something.  Anyway, Mario got talked into buying me a rose by a very aggressive and amusing flower seller, which I dried and kept.  (The flower, not the salesman.)

Sometimes it’s hard to revisit places that hold a claim over us: places we loved to visit with friends who have long since drifted, old haunts from a broken-up relationship and even previous schools can leave us feeling a bit depressed.  The past is very much the past, and standing in the same place where they happened won’t make the good times come back.

The trick to navigating the Monopoly board of life is not to let your previous turn (as it were) dictate what you do next.  Even though we should cherish and enjoy reliving our pleasant memories of a place, we ought to be looking for opportunities to make more, not regretting the ones that have gone.  For example, I still go to the Southbank a lot.  Sometimes I really don’t want to, because I have very mixed memories of being there, but in the present day it’s usually fun, and it’s interesting, and there’s always something new to discover about it.

With that in mind, I think we should all agree to try and be optimistic about going to work today.  Who knows what new experiences we might have there?

Have an unexpectedly amusing Wednesday.

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Wise Words, Walt

Good morning, reader!  How was your weekend?

Today ‘s blog is about some unexpected sources of wisdom: Disney characters.  Those of you who have read this post will already know that I reckon Disney heroes are actually pretty similar to modern men, but the relevance to contemporary (and indeed real) life doesn’t end there.  Disney movies are, in general, liberally sprinkled with cute quotations and heart-warming characters.  Since Frozen came out at the end of last year, I have been asked the question “do you wanna build a snowman?”  dozens of times, and fans of Despicable Me will be very familiar with the cry “IT’S SO FLUFFY I’M GONNA DIE!!”  These are both lovely and amusing, but they don’t really mean anything if you haven’t seen the films.

However, there are some quotations from Disney movies which, when taken slightly out of context, are very good advice for those of us who are not animated and/or living in an enchanted castle.  Here are my favourites:

1) “I’m afraid being famous isn’t the same as being a true hero.” – Zeus, Hercules

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YES.  Tell that to every reality television star who thinks that their very  existence warrants an enormous pay cheque and unquestioning adoration from the public.  Particularly in a day and age when you can become famous for doing nothing except stand on a stage in front of Simon Cowell and do something – anything – atrociously, people should remember that being famous doesn’t make you superior to anyone else.  In many cases, the people who get fame and fortune don’t deserve it.  Do you remember when J. K. Rowling made the news for donating so much of her wealth to charity that she lost her billionaire status?  That’s a wonderful thing for her to have done, BUT it should be the norm, not newsworthy.

2) “Maleficent doesn’t know anything about love, or kindness, or the joy of helping others. You know, sometimes I don’t think she’s really very happy.” – Fauna, Sleeping Beauty

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It is easy to dismiss people who seem a bit moody/miserable/prone to casting evil spells as simply bad human beings, but it’s worth stopping to think about why they are that way inclined.  Happy people don’t hate the world around them, and even though it’s not an easy thing to do, it’s probably a good idea to try to relate to them.  Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes (especially when you don’t like them very much) can be a massive eye-opener.

3) “The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.” – Emperor, Mulan

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If you can achieve success, happiness and other lovely things without really having to struggle for them, they are not devalued as such, but they are less satisfying.  It’s a very British thing to begrudge people a public school education, because we think that they have been handed the tools to obtain their ambitions without having to earn them.  We love the rags-to-riches stories of poor people making their dreams come true, and we went crazy for the Paralympics because the athletes were achieving greatness from a disadvantaged starting position.  It’s not a bad thing to respect people who can make lemonade out of lemons (although I would have gone for a lemon drizzle cake, myself), but the important thing is to remember to apply it to your own life when necessary.  Making successes out of failures and opportunities out of crises, however small they might be, is a good way to grow.  Or bloom, as His Excellency would have it.

4) “Oh yes, the past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it, or… learn from it.” – Rafiki, The Lion King

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It’s one of the most universal experiences known to humanity: the involuntary groan and uncomfortable squirm when you remember something embarrassing you did months or even years ago.  These memories can come back to bite you when you are falling asleep, walking along perfectly happily or operating heavy machinery (which is obviously not ideal for safety reasons as well as emotional ones).  Like most people, I get pretty bogged down by those unhappy thoughts, and usually fairly indignant: WHY did I just remember that?  What the hell does my brain think it’s doing?!  It’s a very uncomfortable process, but for the sake of our sanity we should probably try to look at the memory, work out why we behaved the way we did, and go about fixing the problem.  The other thing is (and I owe a huge thank you to friends of mine who have reiterated this next bit for me), the chances of anyone else remembering the incident with as much displeasure as you do is unlikely.  You remember it so vividly because you’re still beating yourself up about it, but anyone else who was there won’t have thought about it nearly as much, if at all.  Think about it: do you lie awake at night thinking about embarrassing things your loved ones have done, and despising them?  Of course not.  So logically, they’re not going to be doing the same thing about your misdemeanours.

5) “Life’s not a spectator sport. If watching is all you’re gonna do, then you’re gonna watch your life go by without you.” – Laverne, The Hunchback of Notre Dame

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Get involved.  Go and talk to that attractive person at the bar.  Take up a hobby.  Go on adventures.  If you don’t ask you don’t get, and you lose one hundred percent of the Monopoly games you don’t play.  Sure, you might end up embarrassing yourself some more, but we’ve already covered how to cope with that.

And last but not least:

6) “Some people are worth melting for.” – Olaf, Frozen

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Some, not all.  Use your common sense.

Have a spectacular day, everyone.