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When life leaves nothing to Chance

Mama Gump was wrong.

You do know what you’re going to get in a box of chocolates … you’re going to get chocolates.

So, as valiantly as Forrest tried to cobble together America's history, he was working from a faulty premise — one that could have fallen apart by just moving the wrong piece.

Life — at least as we now approach it in the Divided States of America — is really more like a game of Jenga … and we’ve been spending our time eating bon-bons as one societal building block after another brings us closer to the moment where the whole thing could come crashing down.

I'm not a smart man, but I know Americans love their games. (For one thing, they make handy-dandy transitional metaphors.) So, I took more than a passing interest when the good people behind Monopoly — that most capitalistic of games — announced they will release this fall a new themed edition of the classic competition of cutthroat buying, selling, renting and the Community Chest.

The “Cheaters Edition.”

Yep, the same folks who recently created a Facebook “chatbot” (whatever that is) that allows players to report Monopoly cheats online (from which punishments will be handed out) has decided "it was time to give fans what they’ve been craving all along — a Monopoly game that actually encourages cheating.”

Game-maker Hasbro says it’s introducing the special edition because its research has found that “nearly half of game players attempt to cheat” — which means that more than half of Monopoly players don’t cheat (let’s just round that up and call them the 99 percenters).

How you actually take home the pot in a Cheaters Edition of Monopoly is left unsaid — but if it follows the prevailing pattern of American wisdom, players will accept the results if they win.

If Forrest played Jenga, even he’d realize there just aren’t enough blocks.

Now, let’s hop a ride on the Pennsylvania Railroad and travel to the Pennsylvania Railroad Gardens in San Francisco — a city that not only has dismissed more than 3,000 misdemeanor marijuana charges going back more than 40 years ... it will review nearly 5,000 felony convictions.

This stems from California’s decision to make legal the recreational use of pot. The wiping out of the offenses theoretically would help those with records stand a better chance at finding jobs and receiving government benefits.

Talk about being given a "Get Out Of Jail Free" card.

Of course, California is also where 26,000 people over the age of 100 receive disabled-driver placards … even though state records confirm there to be only 8,000 eligible drivers of that age.

So, who’s zooming who?

The legalization of pot in states across the country has led to creative ways of cheating the system without passing go, paying $200 or breaking the law.

Take, for instance, the notion of “gifting” marijuana — which is allowed in Oregon and seven other states. The logistical legal loophole is that you purchase one product — say ... fruit juice or T-shirts — at a premium price and receive marijuana as a gift.

Police in Massachusetts, for instance, couldn't locate the Craigslist ad owner who was offering plastic sandwich bags for as much as $325 each … and please help yourself to the marijuana inside as their way of saying thank you.

Coming soon, no doubt, is a more-nuanced Monopoly edition devoted to ways to skirt the spirit of the game by technically playing within the rules.

If you get the feeling that it seems sometimes as though True North is disappearing from society’s moral compass … go with the feeling.

Speaking of games, today is Super Bowl Sunday — and as the vast majority of football fans in 44 states and half of Connecticut root for the New England Patriots to lose, an estimated $4.8 billion will be wagered on everything from the length of the National Anthem to the final score.

The NFL soon will have the Raiders in Las Vegas, where the NHL already has a team. Not to be outdone, the NBA — despite the lingering shadows of players shaving points and referees mixed up with wiseguys — wants a cut of the take from states where sports gambling becomes legalized.

Run, Forrest. Run.

— Mail Tribune copy editor Robert Galvin (who still hasn't forgiven Monopoly for getting rid of the wheelbarrow) has a new email address. Reach him at rgalvin@rosebudmedia.com.

Robert Galvin