Monday, February 19, 2007

Chutes and Ladders

After nap time this evening Max, Sam and I played a barrage of games: Candy Land (Max's favorite), followed by a few rounds of HI HO! Cherry-O, a couple tries at Chutes and Ladders, and finally Sam's favorite: Cranium Cariboo.

It was after Sam and I won the the first round of Chutes and Ladders by taking first place in the dog show, ("Best in Show" if you will,) and part way up the longest ladder having successfully helped a cat down from a tree, that I saw a problem with this game. Sure it teaches children the a valuable lesson in the consequences of our actions, the exercise of our free agency, as well as the rewards from good choices. (I think Max actually thought I was mad at him when I exclaimed "Uh oh, you colored on the wall again!!", but then I smiled and then he smiled.) But have you ever really considered what values are being imparted by the examples in this game?

Case in point:

Let's begin with the biggest Ladder. You can move from square #28 to #84 by doing something as stupid as climbing a tree (without a ladder) to help some cat that was dumb enough to climb the same tree. Why, I ask, is it such a great thing to climb trees? I'm sure the kid's mother told him not to climb it!? Why move forward 56 squares for this and only 10 for baking a nice cake, or only 16 for cleaning the house?

Soon Max will think he can either spend all of his Saturday mowing the lawn (22 squares), baking (again 10 squares), actually eating his healthy food (a measly 8), and finding mom's purse (20); or just go outside and climb the forbidden tree to get the neighbors cat, to which he is allergic. I mean really, what would have happened had he fallen out of the tree?
Answer: If we look at the trend of the chutes: he may become hypothermic (I hope they revive Meredith Grey) from falling through thin ice (-22), break a window with a baseball (-20), or graffiti something (-20).

Following these pattern's I'm sure he'll only lose about 5 squares or so. It's not a bad gamble then to try to save the @#%! cat, and have all of Saturday left to slide down all of the other chutes without losing much ground.

Or you could spend all your time with said cat and win the pet show and simultaneously win the whole freakin' game!

Basically, the trend that I have come to recognize in this game is "Help control the pet population; have your pet spayed or neutered." I guess if you are nice to animals you'll do well in life, even without a high school diploma. Don't worry about homework, hard work, or kindness to other homosapiens, just focus on cats and dogs (yes, bandaging a rabid dog will get you one space further than if you help the lady recover her stolen satchel).

Well, it is a fun game, but I can't help but wonder if Hasbro is getting a kick back from the Humane Society and/or Bob Barker. At least they give you 38 squares for planting a seed and you could stretch it and liken that one unto faith, but who are they kidding? What are the odds of getting a "one" on your fist spin? (A: 1 in 6)

P.S. I think pulling on a cats tail should be a ladder rather than a chute!


mr. underhill said...

Excellent post! Not only truly thought provoking but an excellent commentary on the ethics of corporate America as well. I applaud your analysis and award you 25 spaces on a medium-sized ladder. By the way, what in the world is Hi-Ho Cherry-O anyway? What is that supposed to be teaching, food storage?

acte gratuit said...

Underhill, "Hi-Ho" teaches that you should volunteer your time at your local church humanitarian Cherry orchard. We'll be sure to bring it when we come to visit.

I agree that this is a very excellent post, but what do you expect from my genius husband? I mean, really!?

marissa said...

You are absolutely right. I am going to boycott that game from now on....unless it has something to do with the Price Is Right, because that is my favorite.

Bartimaeus said...

HI HO! Cherry-O (or as Max says Hi Ho Keerio!) is a game of picking La La's (Cherry's for the non Dub related) are systematically removed from a tree, but watch out for the evil Dog and Blue Bird. I always hated it when the Blue Jays ruined out LA LAs.

mama bear said...

you can't ruin hi-ho cherry-oh for me, i still love it! i just loved placing all the cherries (stem up of course) in the tree and then "picking" them and putting them in the barrels! good times.