My long suffering daughter often pesters me to play Monopoly, that game that has been enjoyed by countless numbers of humans since it was first launched in 1903. I do cave in once in awhile, but only after have I have exhausted my pathetic, fabricated attempts to weasel my way out. It's not that I don’t like playing games with her, it's just that she fails to understand the recurring nightmares that game generates.
This pain I've endured for over 40 years, ever since my six weeks with 38 Squadron Detachment A in Port Moresby. The Detachment operated Caribous out of Jackson Field, now known as Jackson International Airport, as part of Australia’s commitment to Nation Building prior to Papua New Guinea’s independence in late 1975. A normal detachment was three months with a turnover every six weeks. I was lucky in that I was sent to replace a bloke who had to return to Australia halfway through his tour because of illness.
We were accommodated at Murray Barracks which is where we spent most of our time when not at work, especially during the week. We had no transport. Bars were opened for Happy Hour, and that was about all. No movies, no TV, so entertainment was either reading one of the few books around, or playing Monopoly. We may at times have played cards or some other games, but if we did I can’t recall them. Monopoly is what we entertained ourselves with. Night after night. Week after week. Our only reprieve came when we were able to go into Moresby or borrow the Detachment’s Kombi Van to do some sight seeing.
As I said above, I consider myself lucky to have only been there for six weeks. Somewhere during that six weeks Monopoly morphed into Monotony. And that’s the way it has been ever since. I probably have a form of PTSD.