Saturday, September 9, 2006

Candy Land

Candy Land
Ali Sullivan

One hundred thirty-four colored squares separate the blonde white children from King Kandy and his Candy Castle. You choose a color. You wait for your turn. You hop along and stay put. You might get stuck in a lollipop forest. You might choose a card with Plumpy and go backwards more than you want. You might get the card with bosomy Queen Frostine and spend time with her and her Ice Cream Sea.

These are the lures of Candy Land. This is what I see as the mom. I already know how to play, or I did some time ago. It’s not hard to remember or understand. For me.

For the three-year-old who received it, it was more like a lesson on the disappointments of life than sweet fun. There’s no actual candy inside. Just poor illustrations of all temptation. You have to wait for things. Your mom tells you what to do. She moves your piece for you if you don‘t do it quickly enough. Why am I trying to get to King Kandy anyway? I don’t care if I have to go backwards because I don’t know which way is forwards. I like this Princess Lolly a lot. She has suckers in her hair. How many cards can I hold at once?

He wants to just hold the cards and move his green gingerbread guy around. This kid has no motivation to win. No drive for competition. What will happen to him in America? He’ll be gobbled up. Toughen him. Teach him that it feels bad to lose, to be last. Teach him that to win is the only way to feel good. He’ll get A’s, good SAT scores, and a beautiful wife. Don’t you want to win, son?

Let me hold the cards and look at the colors. I can find some that match. I can let my green guy slide all over because that’s what I’d do if I could be plastic and tiny. I really like the pink cards with the pictures of the weird people. Gramma Nutty? Look! Her house is made of peanut butter, Momma! Too many cards. They like to fall on the floor. Watch them go! What happens if a bunch go at once?

He’s throwing the cards on the floor! No, not throwing, but pushing them over the edge with his fingertips and down they go. What a mess. He’ll be cleaning that up himself. Ugh, here comes the baby. In go the cards. Everything in the mouth, kid? Okay, that’s the end of the game. Let’s put it away.

Clean up? But I’m in the middle of this physics experiment, Mom. Ever hear of gravity? Let me just do this a little longer? I’ll scream. I’ll cry and say no. Don’t ask me because I’ll tell you the truth. It is not okay to clean up now. I don’t care if the baby eats the cards on the floor. They fell and they serve no purpose to me now. You really want to clean up? I’ll just throw them all now. There they go, and now I’m going to run away. See ya.

Good, he’s gone and I can put it away in peace. Four dollar piece of crap. The box is broken already and I know I’ll never see the Gloppy card again. Eat me, King Kandy.

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