As a rule I stay away from popular fads. Politics included.
I find my views on the latest crazy trends that are sweeping the nation are usually wrong and completely out of touch with reality.
For example, for years I have been predicting the imminent demise of cell phones and the internet.
Which is why it seems only appropriate that I expound on the latest phenomenon, Pokémon Go.
Granted I don’t have much (any) street cred participating in this popular new game that is sweeping our country. But after suffering through far too many episodes of the TV show with my kids when they were young, I have developed some serious couch cred on all things Pokémon.
The good news is that I am also intimately familiar with SpongeBob and, just between you and me, I am developing an app app called SquarePants Go which can be played in the ocean. Don’t tell anybody.
Here is what I learned watching Pokémon on TV: Nothing.
Because the cartoon show never ends. Imagine watching Breaking Bad or Mad Men or the Presidential Primaries without a season finale. That is Pokémon the TV show.
The anime hero of the show, Ash Ketchum, wanders aimlessly from town to town with his pet Pokémon, Pikachu, and captures other Pokémon monsters with cute names like Bulbasaur and Squirtle and Charmander while battling powerful gym lords and pokemon trainers all in an effort to become a Pokémon Master, or as we know it in this country, President of the United States.
Playing Pokémon Go is actually quite simple. The game allows anyone with a smartphone to follow their dream of becoming a Pokémon Master simply by wandering around public places to find and capture as many Pokémon creatures as possible without getting robbed, run over by a car, or walking off a cliff.
And the more Pokémon you capture, the more extensive the battles, and the more powerful you become. Just like politics.
The genius of Pokémon Go is that it takes young gamers with addictive personalities away from indoor TV screens and computer monitors to the great outdoors where they can get some exercise while still maintaining their addiction.
As a responsible parent who for years has tried to yank his kids from video games to healthy exercise outside in the fresh air, Pokémon Go falls in the “be careful what you wish for” category.
Think Fitbit for young people. Finally, the potential of the smartphone unleashed!
To best understand how Pokémon Go works, let’s take an example. Suppose that you are wandering around town. Any town. As you walk, obsessively staring at Google Maps on your phone, you can collect items such as Poké Balls, Poké Eggs and Razz Berries as you pass by real life public PokéStops like, say, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame or the Liberty Bell.
But your real goal is to capture Pokémon creatures as they instantaneously spawn about town, and ultimately do battle with other obsessive Pokémon Go players. And the best place to find these cloying creatures at this time of year is at Convention Centers. This week Cleveland. Next week Philadelphia.
According to online statistics collected by the Nintendo Research Center for Public Policy, the two presumptive Pokémon Masters, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, have managed to battle and capture some really serious monsters, enigmatic PokéPoliticians like Tentacruel Cruzish, Bernio Seandra, JigglyPuff Christie, and Little Marco Rubio.
Of course these two Pokémon Masters didn’t get where they are just by battling other serious players. They first had to amass an army of lesser Pokemon creatures all over the country known as delegates. This is not easy to do.
Fortunately the Pokémon Go app allows users to purchase PokéCoins to obtain the tools and weapons they need on their way to becoming Masters.
You don’t really think Pokémon Go is free to anyone do you?
In the language of Team Trumpence, purchasing PokéCoins with real money is also called buying special interest. Or if you happen to be a billionaire, it is known as playing the Pokémon 2% card. Either way, it takes a lot of money and a lot of influence and some real Poké Balls to become a Pokémon Master.
Which is why most of us will be hit by cars or blindly fall into mine shafts as we play.
But at this point it is doubtful that I will ever seriously attempt Pokémon Go. I have enough trouble texting with emoji. Besides, I have no real desire to become a politician.
However, being an American, I feel participating in Pokémon Go is a civic responsibility and I applaud the young people in this country who are now putting their lives at risk everyday to participate in this new PokéCratic process.
But, as I said, when it comes to popular fads, including politics, I am usually out of touch with reality.