Much as the urgency of the monster puzzle in the haunted house is motivating me, this space needs variety.  There ought to be rest stops along the way where one can enjoy a Stuckey’s hot dog and coffee, ogle the souvenir vending machine for cool prizes, and use the facilities to restore zero storage.

The way in which our Property Party dominated system is throwing money at the socialized corporations of the anti-free market got me thinking about a certain toy I used to play with.  I still have this thing, and it still works!

The game is called Chutes Away!  It’s a contraption consisting of a wind-up mechanism base, a pretend-airplane control panel and view port, an overhang with a model rescue plane with a mechanism for carrying rescue chutes, and a wide rotating disc with holes representing the landscape and emergencies in need of help.

You turn on the mechanism, the disc rotates, and you look through the view port.  Using the controls, you move the plane back and forth along the path of the disc and drop chutes in holes.  When the mechanism winds down, you are presumably out of fuel and have to leave and land somewhere.  Score is kept by the number of chutes you land successfully in the holes.

The chutes are plastic, with a metal weight on the end, so they drop pretty quick.  The holes have raised edges and taper to a point downwards, so if you get a solid hit the chute may bounce a little but will be directed to a rest at the bottom.

The disc is nicely illustrated with various scenes of disaster in need of help.  A car lies stuck in a collapsed wooden bridge with people waving for help, a crashed helicopter crew signal for your attention, a sinking boat’s passengers wave at you, and so on.

I thought this was the coolest thing ever when I saw it in the store, so I pestered my folks into getting it.  But they got back at me.  My folks called the game “Bucks Away!” and would laugh at me while I played rescue pilot.  The idea was that it was a waste of money and the secret joke behind the game was I was really throwing money away with every chute released.  Just as buying the game had been a throw-away.

So I pulled out the game once more and pretended to be the TARP’s ace pilot.  I would be dropping public funds right into the waiting chimneys of insolvent banks throughout the land.  Kind of like Santa Claus.

Unfortunately there was a technical difficulty.  The chute drop was a bit stuck – I had to really use the lever hard to release them.  A lot of the bailout money went right into the drink or the woods, and I was only able to save three banks from having to paper over their losses until the magical day of recovery.

Bucks away!