I grew up playing The Game of Life with my family. Dad would grease the spinner (seriously), and the six of us would gather around the living room coffee table, spread out the board and fight over what color car was ours.
It generally took two nights to finish the game, but there was no opting out. We all had a spot in the game. Dad was always the banker, which was perfect. I hated math and keeping track of stuff.
Honestly, all I cared about was getting a good spin (think momentum, not landing on a good square) and trying to dodge having more than two stick people in my car (keeping them in the car was a hindrance). Naturally, top priority rested with collecting a very large stack of money and cashing it in for bigger bills. I would then spend downtime admiring it and imagining what I’d do if I had a million dollars in real life. All I remember is that it involved dresses, cameras and horses. Apparently a lot of them.
Anyway, during the game I remember being asked frequently whether I wanted to insure my house, my car, my kids, my business, my aunt, my farm… everything.
The answer was obvious.
I wasn’t an idiot. I knew the more money I had in my hand, the better off I was. Why whyyy would I waste my hard earned G’s on something that would only come in handy for, like, one square of the game?
Being uninsured was my strategy for the game. Minimal risk and 100 percent chance of surviving – similar to the option to caulk the wagon and float across in Oregon Trail. If you had a half a brain, you risked it. Every time. Who cares if you lost Sally? The funerals were brief and face it, you didn’t even know she was there for the most part.
Anyway, my sister and I were recently hashing over the ins and outs of insurance (our lives aren’t that exciting). Our conclusion? Real life is a helluva lot like The Game of Life.
I mean, as a kid, you just have a riot playing the game. Then you grow up and realize it’s an exact replica of what happens in life itself, only without the “Share the Wealth” cards and “Lucky Days,” which is kind of completely annoying. My parents were forcing me to make adult decisions and I didn’t even know. And clearly I did a bad job.
Maybe this is why I struggle so much with decisions. I chose bad options without any repercussions as a young child. Now, when asked to insure everything in real life, I have the same tendencies. I turn down as much insurance as I possibly can without totally jinxing myself and going bankrupt. For example, given my current circumstances, flood insurance is a joke (I hope). Same goes for life insurance. It’s just not for me…. obviously. Dog insurance? He’s a brick wall. You don’t need to insure a brick wall.
Or do you?
Truth is, most people aren’t able to glide through actual life averting all disasters. There seems to be at least one horrific thing that goes wrong that makes you either a.) wish you had bought insurance or b.) wish you hadn’t blown money on insurance.
So when I found myself with a month-long gap in health insurance and needing some type of short-term (immediate!) coverage, I had a decision to make. “Ford the river” and (very carefully) live with the gap, or buy something temporary.
The first was option was ultra-tempting. But, keeping in mind most of my walking is done with my arm entangled in a leash with an excitable 110-pound dog on the other end, I signed up for some really terrible, super cheap temporary insurance with an unfamiliar company just in case I slipped on the ice, shattered a few crucial bones and dislocated my face. The insurance very well could have been a scam. Thankfully, I didn’t have to find out.
My sister shared a story of her own. Her and her husband noticed a “homeowners extra” addition on their policy this year. When she inquired, she was told it covered things like furs, pewterware, manuscripts and precious stones.
“In case things go wrong at the trading post?” I asked. Oregon Trail meets The Game of Life, perhaps?
My sister opted out of insuring her non-existent furs and manuscripts, but, as an attorney, took particular interest in the section of the homeowners extra policy that discussed slander and libel.
I’m not sure of the exact details, but what I heard was this insurance essentially covers the overly chit-chatty. The type who consistently tells bad jokes. The masters of offending people. Those with un-agreeable opinions who think their thoughts are worth publishing. AKA the freedom to run your mouth with no repercussions. All for the low cost of just $18 a year!
This insurance seems very worth it. Someone sign me up! Oh, and while we’re at it, let’s get that old Game of Life insured. The whole greasing of the wheel couldn’t have been safe.
Shootin’ the Wit is a sporadic blog about everyday life that should never, ever be taken too seriously.