Another small piece of my childhood will soon be a victim of so-called progress. While reading the news last week, I stumbled across an article that said Hasbro, which makes the board game Monopoly, is retiring the thimble game token.
After 82 years of service, the company is kicking the poor thimble off the board. Never again will the thimble pass “go” or collect $200. One of the possibilities being considered to replace the thimble is – brace yourself – a hashtag, as if we need to see yet another one of those.
I was never good at Monopoly. Didn’t have the patience for it. Sometime during the second hour of game play, I’d either doze off or start losing money on purpose just to end it already. But what I did like about the game was setting it up. I liked sorting my yellow and salmon-colored play money into piles and picking out my game token. And I always got the game token I wanted because I always chose the thimble.
I witnessed some wicked pre-game fights over the flashier game tokens, but we thimble enthusiasts never had to deal with the Scottish doggie drama. We never had to bargain for the battleship token. Why? Because we saw the simple, unassuming beauty of the thimble. We appreciated its cute dimples and clean lines.
Maybe it didn’t have the same kind of razzle dazzle as the racecar, but it was symmetrical, sturdy and sweet. And its ergonomically correct form meant that it always faced front and didn’t fall over the way the wheelbarrow or the horse and rider token always did.
It’s not the first time a Monopoly game token has been banished from the board. It happened in 2013 to the iron, which was replaced with a cat. I wasn’t sad to see the iron go, but some people find the act of ironing to be oddly relaxing. I bet they were crushed. They probably had to iron their socks and sheets just to get over it.
When the thimble meets its fate in August, I’m not the only one who’ll be torn up over losing my go-to token. Richard Marinaccio won a national Monopoly championship back in 2009, and he’s a proud thimble guy. He said he picked the thimble to play his championship game because it seemed like an underdog piece and he wanted to make it his own.
If you’re one of the many people who find the thimble to be underwhelming at best, just know that your favorite piece might be on the chopping block, too. In January, Hasbro asked Monopoly fans to vote on 64 different options for game tokens (including the 8 tokens currently being sold with the game.) More than four million votes were cast. We won’t know what the winning tokens are until March 19th, and they won’t hit store shelves until August.
Who knows? You might have to say bye-bye to your beloved battleship or toodaloo to the top hat. Among the 64 new token possibilities, there are unusual things like sliced bread, a bowtie and a bunny slipper. There’s also a typewriter, a T-rex, a hashtag, a horse, a roller skate, a rooster, a flip-flop and even a winky face emoji. (I fear the thimble will spin in its gaming grave if its replaced with a hashtag. If a classic game token has to go, I’m rooting for the roller skate or typewriter to take its place.)
But before that happens, I’m paying tribute to the nimble thimble. I thank it for its countless trips around the game board during the rainy afternoons of my youth. I’ll save the thimble from my Monopoly game and hang onto it. Perhaps one day years from now, when my future grandchildren are playing Monopoly using their new-fangled tokens, I’ll take out my little thimble and give it another spin around the board.
Thanks for the memories, thimble.
Gwen Rockwood is a mom to three great kids, wife to one cool guy, a newspaper columnist and co-owner of nwaMotherlode.com. To check out Gwen’s book, “Reporting Live from the Laundry Pile: The Rockwood Files Collection,” click HERE.