Friday, July 02, 2010

O Plumpy, Plumpy, Wherefore Art Thou Plumpy?

I was in that-store-I-ethically-wish-I-could-avoid-but-oh-my-gosh-the-groceries-were-undeniably-cheaper, and they had Candyland on sale for four dollars. That is definitely almost a garage sale price, with the bonus of not having to substitute the red gingerbread man with a thimble from a good-for-parts-only old Monopoly set.

I put it in the cart, and removed something of equal value (so I didn't get up to the register and have to go all Debra Winger on the cashier), and hurried through the rest of my shopping (seriously, when you are there it is called shopping?) to get home to play the game with Jake and Olivia.

You see, we have extremely fond memories of Candyland (Jake and I), as I am sure you all do. We played it all the time with my BF Tracy and her daughter. The four of us would sit on the floor in the living room of her castle outside of Florence. And the castle part is where the romanticism ends. Because no one on this entire planet--trust me on this one--ever hated, reviled, feared, and ultimately destroyed, Plumpy more than my BF Tracy's daughter, J.

We have one of the episodes on video for posterity. J and Jake are four, and as we are playing the game, J is so completely positively sure she is going to get Plumpy (who, we all remember, sends you back to the beginning of the game) that she cannot even wait for people to take their turns. As Jake draws a card, she beats her little hand on the ground to compel him to move it, move it, god move your piece so that I can just take my turn and draw the little monster.

Of course she drew it; she often pulled it from the deck. My memory wants to promise you that she always drew it, but always is a dangerous qualifier and I do not want to exaggerate. She would sigh, make an angry look up to the ceiling (I so wish I could make that face for you now), and move back to the beginning. Hours after the game was over (with clearly a victory having gone to either Jake, Tracy or me), we would be rounding out a perfect afternoon with some neighborhood gelato. If asked how her treat was, she might say something like, "It's good." A long pause would follow with "But I had Plumpy." My BF Tracy would seethe, internally furious that her child was permanently destined to see the half-empty.

Apparently other children also hated getting Plumpy, because after we pulled off the shrink wrap, Jake gleefully rubbing his hands together to watch Olivia fall to the wrath of the Plumpster, we opened up the board and saw that in the place where he used to lurch, there was a cheerful Gingerbread Tree (wth?) who--the rules promised--sat there waiting to "welcome" all children. OH MY GOD, we are so afraid of our children's disappointment that we removed Plumpy? We now need to convince them that it is fun to go visit the Gingerbread Tree, moving to the beginning of (and inevitably losing) the game?

J was not defeated forever by the evil plum. She grew older and clearly empowered; one day she simply took him from the box and tore him into tiny pieces. She is today an accomplished student, with a stunning ability to rule a soccer field, and wins awards for community service and creative writing. A few years ago, I cruelly lovingly decorated her locker in a Candyland theme and made Plumpy into a magnet to tease her; I know she eyed him suspiciously every time she reached in to get a book.

Olivia has the same middle name as J, and therefore prophetically she drew the Plumpy-Wanna-Be Gingerbread Tree Lady. She hated losing. But she luckily missed out on Jake's and my personal favorite part of the game-from-the-old-days: the cheering, gloating Victory Dance we always performed when J flipped her card over to reveal Plumpy. Sigh. Good times, good times.

The game is certainly now made in China; perhaps they stopped printing him because purple doesn't require significants amount of cadmium like the other colors. Just know that our round of play yesterday was not the same, and I can guess what you are thinking--but I swear, it has nothing to do with the fact that we were no longer playing in a castle in Italy.


Anonymous said...

We are becoming the "Stepford Society" where there are silly efforts to make life all smiles, no complaints, no gripes no tears no muss no fuss.

The new Monopoly Game doesn't have a "Go To Jail" card. It's a "Go On A Two Week Vacation From The Money Grubbing Grind of This Game" card.

And I think there is a "Castle Effect."

Vicky92569 said...

OH! You're BACK! (Clapping hands and jumping up and down) So happy. What a great post...can't believe that Hasbro changed Plumpy. Thanks for getting back to blogging. You and Walter have been missed!

Laura said...

Thank you! Trying to find moments to post between school, student teaching, parenting, and tutoring!
Saw a really old candyland the other day, and it had the Gingerbread Plum it looks as though our version was actually a meaner one of an original kinder one. Still, I wish they would leave it alone!!!