LIFE's not fair, and it only took Nick Packard nine years to figure out why. The boy, who is now a 26-year-old comedian and writer, analyzed Milton Bradley's popular board game -- and was enraged by the injustice he discovered. Thanks to a scanner and Facebook, Packard went ahead and shared a copy of the letter he wrote to the toymaker when he was a kid (on a typewriter!), calling out the lack of diversity, gender parity and more troubling characteristics in "The Game of Life."
At HuffPost Parents, where our group blog is comprised of so many different types of families all doing their best to raise decent kids, we wholeheartedly agree. Packard's refreshing acknowledgement of reality reminds us that when it comes to wisdom, age is just a number.
On a lighter note, below are 11 (Satirical) Questionable Lessons From Board Games.
Monopoly: How To Be The 1 Percent
This board game pits family members against one another, teaching children several important economic lessons: how to stifle competition, squeeze rent from squatters that stop by their properties and exert maximum profits at all costs. Before you know it, you'll have a mini-mogul on your hands. Besides, what 8-year-old shouldn't learn how to handle $500 bills with ease and get out of jail free?
Guess Who?: How To Profile
Is it a man? Does he wear glasses? Is he white? These are the sort of ways that kids are encouraged to categorize people in the two-player game, Guess Who? When it comes to this game, the only things that matter are physical. (And if you play the original version, you'll also quickly learn that white men are by far the most desirable, as they far outnumbered other faces.)
The Game of LIFE: How To Equate Lifelong Success With Money
Life is really only worth living if you have tons of money, right? According to LIFE, the answer is a definitive "yes!" This board game also teaches us that you MUST get married (to someone of the opposite sex, of course), that purchasing insurance or pursuing a college education really have very little impact on your future, and that you should only help the homeless if you'll get a reward afterward.
Operation: How To Perform A Live Dissection
If your kids are aspiring surgeons, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Hasbro-4545-Operation/dp/B00000DMFM/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1321483263&sr=8-3" target="_hplink">this game</a> may only lead to confusion -- or encourage them to enter the black market of medicine. Let's be honest, when would you ever surgically remove someone's ribcage for cash? And it's just plain unethical to perform open-heart surgery on a conscious patient.
Oregon Trail: How To Laugh When Your Kin Die Of Dysentary
Although some could make an argument that Oregon Trail provides valuable historical and money-management lessons (how much should you spend on supplies at the general store?!), we just can't get past the fact that most of the time, most of your party ends up dying by the time you reach the Wild Wild West. Isn't it just a little bit disturbing to be faced with the task of picking out your sister's tombstone before the age of 12?
'Where's Waldo?': How To Stalk People
After reading a few "Where's Waldo?" books you're sure to be an expert stalker. Whether your target heads to the beach, skips the country or travels through time, you'll know how to pick him or her out of a crowd of similarly color-coordinated individuals. Just pray you don't end up stuck with a restraining order from our red-and-white-striped hero.
Don't Wake Daddy: How To Sneak Around Your Parents
The one and only goal of this game is to do things your father wouldn't approve of without waking him up -- namely not sleeping and eating all of the household's food in the middle of the night. It's practically a hop, skip and a jump away from teaching kids to shimmy down the drainpipe silently to meet up with their motorcycle-riding boyfriend, Spike.
Hungry, Hungry Hippos: How To Overestimate Dangerous Animals
There are a number of misconceptions perpetuated by this classic children's game. First of all, players are bound to be upset when they realize that hippos do not in fact come in a variety of pastel colors. Secondly, hippos don't consume pretty, white marbles. And third, hippos aren't 3-year-old-friendly -- or friendly at all. In fact, they're considered some of the most <a href="http://www.ypte.org.uk/animal/hippopotamus/130" target="_hplink">aggressive and dangerous</a> creatures in the world.
Mall Madness: How To Develop A Shopping Addiction
Mall Madness ... because all tween girls need to learn how to properly navigate Black Friday-esque shopping situations. When it's go time, women need to understand that the mall is a place to maximize one's earnings, by buying as much merchandise from as many stores as possible -- before your friends do, of course. And each player even gets her own credit card. Getting into crippling debt at an early age -- what fun!
Old Maid: How To Shame Unmarried Women
This is definitely the classic (and obvious), "bad message" kids game, but what list wouldn't be complete without it? The lesson couldn't be more obvious: you have the 'old maid' by the end of the game, you're the automatic loser. So ... being over 40 and single means that you're a loser? Maybe it's time to put away this card game once and for all.
Candyland: How To Get A Sugar Habit
The editors at HuffPost were divided on this one. Healthy Living editor Laura Schocker maintained that it encourages kids to consume an excess of empty calories. HuffPost Parents managing editor Farah Miller agreed it was probably responsible for the childhood obesity epidemic (along with unhealthy cafeteria food, poor nutritional education and a <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/nov/09/central-european-time-physical-activity" target="_hplink">lack of physical activity</a>). Some of us, however, insisted that the only message we got from the game was that we should eternally wish to be Princess Lolly and/or Queen Frostine. Because at the end of the day, all of these board games really do espouse one theme we are very much in favor of: ridiculous, don't-think-too-hard-about-it FUN.