Cheater

By -

If your childhood was anything like mine, you probably played the board game Monopoly on at least a few occasions. It was a favorite of mine, and even though the game was created almost a century ago, it’s still enjoyable to this day. But for this mental exercise, take yourself back to a time when you were playing it with friends.

So the four of you are gathered around, having a grand old time. One of your friends is one of those “Boardwalk/Park Place” types, another guy is more into the mid-range red properties, and there’s old Tim over there, who’s the slumlord.

One kid, though, is doing really poorly, and it’s obvious he’s going to lose. Let’s call him Ted. So, in the middle of the game, Ted just reaches over and grabs $5,000 from the bank. Now he’s suddenly in first place, and the other three players are just staring at him, dumbfounded.

Let’s further suppose that, for whatever reason, you guys can’t really say anything, since Ted is permitted to do what he just did. So everyone keeps playing along. And one or two more times, this little shit just grabs the cash he needs. Eventually, the game is over, and he’s won. Again. Just like all the other times.

What kinds of adjective spring to mind about this situation? It’s unfair. It isn’t right. It neutralizes the skills and strategies others have brought into the game. But, beyond all other things, it is this:

Just……….God……….damn………………BORING.

Because……….what’s the point?

Let’s further suppose that, for some crazy reason, your Monopoly game was surrounded by onlookers who got to bet on the outcome of the game. In the early days, these punters might have focused on who was the smartest. Who had the best record. Which kid was known as the most clever or strategically savvy.

However, it wouldn’t take very long for the onlookers to realize that the cheating kid always won. Every. Single. Time. And they’d just bet on Ted winning every time. After all, he’s the one player who can grab cash whenever he wants. And he’ll always be first, no matter what the other players bring to bear. The gamblers surrounding the board will mutter to themselves, “You can’t fight the Ted.”

Eventually, of course, the other players will leave. Because the game is goddamned dull, and it’s simply no fun to participate in a rigged game. If there’s nothing you can do to beat Ted, then there’s really no point in trying. And that’s a shame. Because whatever strategic know-how, skills, knowledge, and cunning might have been polished over the course of time, they are all rendered moot by the presence of a cheater.

And that, my friends, is why I’m so bored with this market that I am doing anything – -ANYTHING – – else right now. And, if you feel the same way, maybe this helps you understand the situation in a new light.

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