I spent many a childhood evening around the kitchen table eschewing Monopoly because my brother stole from the bank and pretended to flatten my dog token with his iron one. That’s when Clue became my game of choice. And oh — the pertinent things it taught me!
SCARLET — I learned that Miss Scarlet is either a southern Belle with a petulant personality (and an 18-inch waist!) who makes sure that men frankly DO give a damn or she’s a smoldering femme fatale character with a long cigarette holder who would be pronounced guilty if “looks could kill.” I realized that by choosing Miss Scarlet, I would ALWAYS be entitled to go first in the game. After all, it was written in the rules, which I would eagerly drag out to prove to anyone who mistakenly thought the highest roll on the dice determined order. But I would have picked Miss Scarlet anyhow, even if she was destined to go last (although I’m quite sure all men wanted to be behind her!) because aside from Veronica (in the Archies) I had very few raven-haired role models. From my 11-year-old perspective, she was both smart and sexy. Plus from her starting position, she could quickly sneak into “The Lounge” where everyone knew was the prime place to knock someone off. Yes, I got into many a rowdy tussle with my female cousins who claimed Miss Scarlet before we even removed the lid to the box. Disclaimer: I never used a lead pipe on any of them.
WEAPONS — Having grown up with a father whose idea of fixing the plumbing was letting his fingers do the walking in the Yellow Pages, I learned from Clue that a wrench was a murder weapon, not a tool. The first time my handy boyfriend came over, noticed my leaky sink and pulled a wrench from his car — I was already dialing 911 to report domestic abuse.
PALACE — I learned that when I grew up, I wanted an opulent house (like the Clue board) with its own Billiard Room, Library and Conservatory. And since when is a “Hall” a special room in and of itself? In our home, a narrow hall led to a dingy bathroom — sadly the hall was the only way we got from one room to another. There were no “secret passageways.” Deprivation.
COERCION — I learned that you can pressure your opponents into giving you information you need by moving your token into the Kitchen (when you already hold card for the kitchen) and then asking to see either Mr. Green (when you already hold a card for him as well) and the knife. Nowadays, I walk into our kitchen and upon seeing a knife (with some crumbs) I’m able to force a character named Mr. Son (who wears a green shirt) to admit guilt in eating the last piece of cheesecake.
ENTERTAINMENT — I learned that when you run out of things to write about, you can use board games to create a blog that breaks you into The Huffington Post like I did here. Or you can just create a movie like they did in 1985 when they turned Clue into a feature length film starring Leslie Ann Warren as my favorite, Miss Scarlet. However, this was no “Whodunnit” plot but instead it was a “Howdunnit?” How DID they keep her from falling out of that dress??
WINNING — I learned that whenever I beat my family at Clue, my “prize” was getting to put the game away. Interestingly, when I lost — my penalty was also . . . yep, you guessed it! Let’s just say I wasn’t the sharpest weapon in the arsenal.
FLIRTING — When I played Clue with a boy I had a crush on, I learned to wear a red dress, flutter my Miss Scarlet eyelashes at his Colonel Mustard’s hot dog, and try to land in the Ballroom a lot to see if he would ever get the hint and ask me to a school dance. I then learned this never worked. Nowadays, I just beat the pants off men I like in Scrabble, while spelling out their favorite seven letter word, “Bedroom.”
Thank you Parker Brothers for all the valuable life lessons!
— Stephanie D. Lewis
Stephanie D. Lewis regularly contributes to Huffington Post as well as pens a humor blog, “Once Upon Your Prime” where she tries to “Live Happily Ever Laughter.” She also writes an ongoing “Female Fun” column for North County Woman Magazine called Razzle, Dazzle & Frazzle and was recently named one of 2014 Voices of the Year by BlogHer. Her 2008 book, Lullabies & Alibis, is the tale of marriage, motherhood, mistakes and madness. As a single mother of six, she knows a lot about the madness. She’s supervised potty training and driver’s training simultaneously. Too many accidents. A live-in housekeeper? Nah, she’ll take a live-in psychotherapist.