Still don’t care about Pokémon: A personal history

Still don't care about Pokemon

My baby brother was the first person to try to get me to give a shit about Pokémon. It must have been right before I moved out of my parents’ house; I was 19 or 20 years old and he was 7 or 8. He used to watch the anime series and sometimes I was in the same room when the TV was on. I learned there was a little yellow Pokémon named Pikachu. And that was the very last thing I ever learned about Pokémon.

“Hey, Becky! Who would you rather have? Pikachu, Bulbasaur, Leavanny or Charizard?” Oh god, kid, I don’t care.

Then there was a blissful interlude of a dozen years or so with nary a mention of a Snorlax or a Zapdos.

My son was probably around five when he got his first Pokémon cards. I don’t know how he got them — I certainly did not buy them for him. I don’t know and I don’t care. But he poured over those suckers, cementing his early reading skills by sounding out such nonsensical words as Scizor and Blaziken. He would show them to me, his sweet angelic face eager for my approval, and my eyes would glaze over, my voice like a prerecorded message. “That’s nice, sweetie.”

As the years passed, I might have hoped that my son would outgrow his fixation with Pokémon, but I simply couldn’t care even that much. So he went on collecting ever more cards. I’m sure I used them as occasional bribes and he also got them from various people as birthday and holiday gifts. He traded some for others with friends. Parents at the school were alarmed because sometimes older kids or smarter kids or more cut-throat kids would trade cards with little-to-no value for rare, powerful and highly sought-after cards. Rules were put into place. Kids weren’t supposed to bring their cards to school any longer. I saw my son sneaking stacks of cards into his backpack anyway.

I didn’t care.

He rediscovered the animated series. Maybe it’s on Netflix or something, what do I care. So now his younger sisters watch the show too, and look at the cards, and learn the names of Pokémon. “Mommy,” someone is always saying, “who’s your favourite Pokemon? Who do you like more, Alkazam or Dragonite? Would you rather have a fire-type or a electric-type?” I just smile, “Oh children, I’ve already told you this. I don’t care about Pokémon.”

Then one night a couple weeks ago, my husband says, “Have you been hearing all the hype about this new Pokémon Go game?”

I nearly slipped into a coma.

Eventually the hype caught up to me. I’d log onto Facebook and people were debating whether or not this was a good thing. On the one hand, the game was encouraging people (kids, adults, families) to go outside and explore. On the other it was still a video game and can we not even go for a walk anymore without being glued to our screens. I thought about forming my own opinion for a brief second. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ…..

But I was awakened from my Pokémon-induced slumber when the discussion got heated. Oh, mom bloggers, you never cease to disappoint. Anyone questioning the merits of Pokémon Go was accused of being a killjoy, a judgmental and snobby killjoy that should just mind her own business and stop with the sanctimony. The mom enthusiasts were accused of letting their kids roam around in potentially dangerous areas and risking injury through distraction, or of glorifying what was simply yet another video game designed to suck us in.

It didn’t take long before comedian Dena Blizzard came up with her spoof: the Chardenay Go app for moms. Because get it? We can’t get through a day of parenting without reaching for a glass of wine. I cannot get enough drunk mom gags. Alcoholism is so funny! Don’t worry, I’m not offended; just bored.

You can love Pokémon Go or you can hate it. It doesn’t matter to me.

I simply don’t care.