For who? In the work break room, where I’m typically awash in white tears over the loss of their country to a supporting background of Fox News or CNN, I discovered that Pokemon Go is dangerous. But dangerous how? Maybe there was something I could actually learn from network television.
Apparently, kids have been getting all sorts of injuries while playing the popular cell phone game that forces them to take their squishy little bodies outside. There were photos of cuts and scrapes from kids walking into bushes. One poor child stubbed his toe on a curb while in search of a rare Pokemon, another bumped into a pole. Through the myriad of whimpers and bruises the headline just kept growing larger: “Pokemon Go is Dangerous.” Someone else’s baby had what looked like a cat scratch from grazing a tree branch, likely traumatized for life since his first encounter with a tree will leave a disabling wound that might take at least three weeks to heal. Another child’s knee pops up on the screen, lumpy and bright red, but skin intact and while I didn’t hear the anchor talk about the last injury over the sound of washing my hands in the sink, I assume they fell and it had nothing to do with a new teen oral sex craze that relies on Pokemon Go related reciprocation.
Then there are kids in Missouri luring other kids into traps to rob them using Pokemon Go, which is first hilarious because you’re afraid to be robbed by someone who’s playing Pokemon Go? And second because it really ups the ante on catching Pokemon. I mean really, how bad do you want to catch em’ all? Will children be playing Pokemon Go strapped, in case they run into that kind of trouble? I can see it now, kids in skinny jeans, hip bulging, one hand on their waist crossing broad street staring at their cell phones, getting honked at or hit by cars.
I love how the media continues to lower the threshold on what’s considered “danger,” and where said danger is to be reported on.
The “danger” of these kids walking around alone reminds me that my friends and I used to wander round going trick-or-treating every year when I was younger. We’d start in Frankford and then move up to the Northeast for the gradual increase in well-to-do middle class white homes (the same strategy employed for cutting grass and shoveling snow, although nowadays I imagine kids are going there mostly to cop pills). Not a single year went by without the fear of our trick-or-treat bags being snatched. A common practice in the hood, older kids who were at least twice your size would run up on you and snatch a nice dense ass bag of candy from your little pre-pubescent hands. Sometimes they would sock you in the mouth for good measure. Other times they would stand and stare at you while holding your candy and jump at you a few times, being sure to assert their dominance. One time the motherfucker just threw all of my candy on the ground and bounced (after which I of course picked most of it up). I think I had it easy though since stories (not on the news of course, but amongst the neighborhood) of kids being stomped out for some Mr. Goodbars and Snickers were pretty common.
I remember when I began playing the original Pokemon games on Gameboy. I was still trick-or-treating around that time. I had to cut a lot of fucking grass to get a Gameboy and I took that thing everywhere, as many kids did, especially when the link cables came out and you could battle each other on the spot. One time I was on the bus, right near the back door seriously kicking some Poke ass on my Red version, when someone punched me in the mouth, snatched my Gameboy and darted off the bus. It was a large fist, and heavy, so it was clear to me that the culprit might have been a little older. Still, I hopped off the bus and started chasing them through the Northeast Shopping Center parking lot. A friend of mine who, at the time I had forgotten was even there followed behind me in pursuit. I was really speeding after this dickhead with my Gameboy, not a clue what I would do because at that point I had yet to actually win a fight. The only plan I had was to berate him into submission (A skill I mastered as I learned to speak), or maybe snatch it back and run faster than he could. When I gained on the clown and got about twenty feet away I realized he was with someone else, and much older than me, but no matter because he stopped running, stared at me and smashed the Gameboy on the ground. It shattered into its translucent purple pieces and glittered there on the parking lot asphalt. That was it. I gave up the consideration of getting my ass whooped for blind rage and charged at him, until he flashed a gun. I stopped running and walked my ass speedily back towards the bus stop while the clown and his friend laughed and laughed.
Oh how they laughed after breaking my fucking Gameboy. My friend and I were silent, and never really spoke about it.
This was way before Clarence, Erv and I would pontificate on the fact that just going to school was a constant struggle not to get your ass beat on the El. So I started taking the 5 bus or sometimes walking the hour or so when it was nice out.
Anyways yea, Pokemon Go. Although I can’t understand how it could be fun, or how anyone (especially in my nostalgic age group) would have the time to invest in something so un-fun, I dare not buy into the claim of it being a great new danger. In fact, I encourage children who would normally be staring at their phones narcissistically snap chatting or sexting their teachers to go outside and stub their little toes, acquire some sun burn, maybe get robbed? Anything, so that when they become adults I won’t be expected to listen to them talk about how the next silly cell phone gaming fad is on par with the apocalypse.