Blithely tearing apart our fragile connections to a gentler, more refined age the way it has so many families, Hasbro has announced that the next edition of Monopoly will say goodbye to the thimble—along with one, last lingering shred of our national dignity. The thimble has been a staple of the classic board game since 1937, when it was introduced alongside seven other metal tokens that once upon a time represented old-fashioned American industriousness: an iron, a stand-in for our unflagging textile workers, as well as a certain pride in our appearance; a shoe, whose leather we once used to pound our sidewalks, selling insurance and apples; a lantern, by which we gladly toiled well into the night at our actuary tables; a purse, car, and top hat, aspirational signifiers of the beautiful dream of capitalism; a rocking horse, literally the most fun thing anyone could think of in the 1930s.
The humble thimble stood for thrift and resourcefulness—darning our socks and generally making the most of what we had through sheer grit and gumption. It was a symbol for a hardier people, who could meet every rip and tatter in the fabric of life with stoic determination, calmly threading the needle again and again, the only thing they had to fear being fear itself.
It might be replaced by an emoji or monster truck.
Those are just two of the candidates up for consideration in the Monopoly Token Madness vote, where the eight current pieces faced off against newer, more modern contenders like a flip-flop, jet ski, television, Facebook “Like” thumb, a penguin, and other harbingers of our decline. The final results of that vote will be revealed on March 19 for World Monopoly Day, but Hasbro has already disclosed that the thimble didn’t make it—cast aside in a shiftless, wasteful world where people no longer sew their ripped clothes, but simply throw them out of their helicopters, too busy fiddling with their smart phones to type kiss-blowing smiley faces under penguin videos. It’s a world where these damn kids today probably don’t even know what a thimble is, or why they’re playing Monopoly.
The thimble’s demise follows that of the similarly symbolic tossing of the iron in 2013 in favor of a cat, nature’s laziest animal. Of the original pieces, only the shoe, top hat, and car remain. God help us all.