He loved the Bionicles board game the most. He asked someone to play it with him every day, at least once a day, from the moment he got it.
‘Later’ was the response, over and over.
If you’ve ever tried to get your head around the Bionicles universe – or indeed, any fantasy universe you don’t have an interest in, you’ll know why we kept putting it off.
If you haven’t tried such a thing, just the read the blurb on the back of a fantasy book. Any fantasy book. Chances are, it will read as if written in a foreign language.
The Urf from the Kingdom of Larynx are in trouble. The invading Tonsilmonsters are slowly but surely approaching the Great Wall of Urfnan that surrounds the fabled city of Doogna. There is only one hope: the young Urfling Dooma, a member of the dwindling Noggin race. If Dooma can find the sacred crystal of Larynx, hidden deep within the caves of Inka, the Tonsilmonsters will be defeated. But the obstacles are many, and Dooma has not counted on the treachery of his closest companion, Igghanu.
Be honest. Did you even manage to finish reading that paragraph? That’s my relationship to Bionicles.
F and I were invited to a New Year’s Eve pool party. On New Year’s Eve day, my cousin rang to say that it wasn’t going to be a kid friendly party after all. F was very upset. It was 41 degrees Celsius and he was looking forward to the pool. (To be honest, so was I.)
So, in an effort to cheer him up, I ordered a pizza for dinner and suggested we play the Bionicles game.
I gave up halfway through reading the rules, letting F guide me. A bad mistake, because F, given half the chance, is a cheater. I could sense that he was bending the rules to his advantage, but I couldn’t quite tell how.
He won. I put the game away. And I ran him a bath and plonked him in there with goggles on. (We bucketed it out the next day to put on the garden.)
Two days later, after I submitted some work that was due, I joined a patient F upstairs and offered to play Pixar Monopoly.
We played from 10am til 2.30pm in the afternoon, and only stopped because it was time to go swimming in my aunt’s pool. I won, but only just – a bit of a triumph, since at midday, I’d had $5 left and had half my properties mortgaged.
F thought my mortgages were hilarious for some reason. He called them ‘martinis’ and every time I ran out of money again and put another ‘property’ up for ‘mortgage’, he’d laugh and laugh and shout ‘ANOTHER MARTINI! Oh, MUM!’
In life, I have no credit cards and no mortgage. I have no items bought on store credit. All I have is Centrelink debts. Other than that, I pay as I go. I find it peaceful. It allows me to sleep at night, and to make decisions with little regard for money, beyond rent and food provisions.
I decided to play Monopoly from the opposite perspective, as an experiment. At midday, I felt justified in the way I live. At 2.30pm, when I was $3800 ahead, I wondered if maybe I should have a go at a martini after all.
‘It’s a bit like gambling, isn’t it?’ observed F.
And it is, or so it seems. I think I’ll preserve my ability to sleep well at night and make decisions based on what I want to do rather than the money I need to earn. At least for now, while I don’t have the cash for even one tiny little martini anyway.