By Mark Carpenter –
Now with that headline I bet you thought I was going to write a column about how you should be out there walking or running every day, or heading down to the MEAC in Manchester to work out, or signing up with Shaun Asher so he can out you through the exercise ringer. Well, if you bet that, you were wrong. None of those are necessary any more, all you need to exercise is your smartphone.
All you have to do now is download some app called Pokemon Go and off you can go, wandering hills and dales, city streets, and parks, and who knows where else to search for some type of imaginary creature, all the while fooling your self into massive exercise as you walk, walk, and walk some more. All the while you must be paying close attention to your phone screen, which is one way this new craze has me confused. Everyone walks around with their nose in their phone screen anyway so how can you tell if they are on the Pokemon hunt or just updating their Facebook page with what they are having for dinner tonight or when their next trip to the bathroom is planned.
I went through the Pokemon phase in my home when my son was much younger. I recall laying in the middle of our bed each evening watching some show with characters named Ash and Pikachu and I had absolutely no clue what was going on, but I pretended because that’s what Dads do when they know their son is interested in something. We had to buy that overpriced pack of Pokemon cards on every trip to Walmart (where I gave up my pack of baseball cards) and I am sure that we had a few Pokemon action figures around, but he outgrew that phase thankfully, but it seems that many haven’t as they are out on the hunt as we speak.
Personally, I have only seen one person chasing Pokemon and that was because she was here in our office searching for the creatures, which she seemed to be able to see but I didn’t see a thing. This whole thing reminds me of Opie and Mr. McBeevee in the trees though I don’t expect to walk out in the woods anytime soon and see a Jigglypuff descending from the trees. I read on social media of the Pokemon hunters invading our courthouse square and even saw a story where in Hillsboro they had to rein in the hunters who were damaging local landmarks while on their quest. We even received a press release from the South Central Power Company warning Pokemon hunters of the dangers of hunting near electrical substations. Well, duh.
I went to the official Pokemon go website and found this paragraph: “At a certain point in the game, you’ll be asked to join a team. Pick the same team as your friends to work together, or join different teams and play as rivals! Once you join a team, you’ll gain the ability to assign Pokemon you’ve caught to open Gym locations or to a location where a team member has placed one of his or her Pokemon.” I have no clue what any of that means, so I feel about as out of touch with this new game craze as I do with any type of new music. Open Gym? Does that mean that when basketball season rolls around, these creatures will be floating around the gym without us seeing them? Can I snap a photo with my camera fast enough to actually catch a view of one? So many unanswered questions.
Scroll down a bit further and you will find this wealth of information: “Once you join a team, you can assign Pokemon you’ve caught to an open Gym or to a Gym where a team member has placed one of his or her Pokemon. Like PokeStops, Gyms can be found at real locations in the world. Each player can place only one Pokémon at a particular Gym, so you’re encouraged to work with others on the team to build up a strong defense.” To me, that sounds like what a football coach tells his team in the locker room. At least this new craze is encouraging teamwork, and I assume that this will keep those folks walking around with their heads down from bumping into each other.
My curiosity got the best of me and I continued to scroll down the Pokemon page and I came upon this gem: “Use your own Pokemon to challenge Gyms claimed by other teams. With the Pokemon you’ve caught, engage in battle against the defending Pokemon at the Gym to claim control!” Did I not hear that same thing in Donald Trump’s speech last week?
A google search for Pokemon Go produces 44,800,000 results and believe me with my current schedule, I don’t have the time to look at all of those. I see one story of a Brooklyn man who claims to have captured all the little creatures, even riding in an Uber on his quest. His family must be so proud of him. Then how about this one for dedication? “An Oregon man, meanwhile, didn’t let injuries stop him from playing. He told CNN he was stabbed while searching for Pokemon in a park at 1 a.m. After the incident he played on, even stopping by a convenience store for chips and beer before eventually getting medical attention. He walked away from the incident with eight stitches and an undetermined number of Pokemon.” Things that make you go hmmmmmm…
My request would be that if any of you are running around West Union hunting Pokemon, come down here by our office so we can rid ourselves of any of these pesky creatures that might be lurking around us at all hours of the day. We found a snake crawling around in here awhile back, but that has to be considered kid’s play compared to the possibility of a Bulbasaur haunting our digs. I am in here alone many evenings working late and instead of worrying about ghosts, I will be on the lookout for Charmander and his buddies. I hope the world is still safe after this invasion. I may have to order the set of Pokemon cookie cutters to defend myself.