G. I. Luvmoney
Readers, are you old enough to remember the classic Game of Life endorsed by Art Linkletter? In exchange for his endorsement ("I heartily endorse this game!"), the portrait of Arthur Linkletter, Esq. appeared on the $100,000 bill. The $50,000 bill featured Milton Bradley's portrait, and on the $20,000 bill was my favorite portrait of all, that of the fictional character G. I. Luvmoney.
Art Linkletter and Milton Bradley were actual people, but G. I. Luvmoney was a made-up name. Nevertheless, he made quite an impact on me when I was a youngster, as you can clearly see from this blog entry in his honor.
I certainly enjoyed playing Life, though I didn't realize at the time the Milton Bradley Company was implicitly shaping my value system. For example:
I always opted to take the longer path through college, because I was thus guaranteed a larger salary each time I passed a PayDay. Only shortsighted chumps would take the route straight into business.
Getting married was not optional. When it was my turn to wed, I always looked for the prettiest pink peg to stick in the shotgun seat of my little plastic convertible.
Having children was profitable. Not only did new parents spin to collect gifts, but they could cash in their kids at the end of the game for $20,000 each!
Probably the most glaring example of the game's operant conditioning on youthful value systems, however, was how to win the game. The player who could go through life, bring in the most MONEY, and retire to Millionaire Acres was the winner! If you knew you didn't have the most money, you could risk everything, GO FOR BROKE, and have a 1 in 10 chance of winning, and a 9 in 10 chance of ending up in the POOR FARM.
What a remarkable game! No wonder I have such fond memories of good old G. I. Luvmoney! But I'm also grateful I eventually recognized the Game of Life was just an amusing parody, a lighthearted diversion, and not intended to be a model for how to live our lives.
For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.