Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Pokemon GO and the Perils of Being Popular

I wasn't going to say anything. I was simply going to go along my merry way, enjoying something new and exciting and let the grumpy old curmudgeons be grumpy and old and curmudgeonly.

But I have to say - I REALLY get sick of complete strangers who've appointed themselves to be the moral guardians of society telling me what to do.

The latest trend? Picking on people - kids and adults - who are playing Pokemon GO. Like any newfangled thing that gains such fast popularity, there are going to be those who want to gain some notoriety by disparaging the game as well as those who enjoy it. It happened with The Force Awakens, it happens with Marvel movies, it happens with video games, it happens with sports. If it's popular, chances are good that there are plenty of people who think it's a harbinger of the end of the world. Or they just have to complain that it annoys them for some reason.

Here's my thing about this game: it took me a few days after its release to download the app for myself, but since I did, I love it! Jared and I actually went to a nearby park the other night to go for a walk, avail ourselves of the park's 4-5 PokeStops, and catch Pokemon. Seeing as our doctor told us we need to get out and exercise more, I count that as a plus! (And who can say no to a cheap date night?) Also, there's a PokeStop near the entrance of our apartment complex, so I can take occasional five-minute breaks from work to get off the computer and go for a quick walk while I try replenishing my Poke Ball stash. Which, experts say that if you have a desk job (effectively, I do), you should stand up every hour or so and walk around.

I don't know about you, but for me walking in and of itself is kind of boring. If I'm walking just to walk, motivation is tough to come by. But when I have a reason to get up and walk around, it's great! Frankly, I don't care that it took a Pokemon game to motivate me to be more active. At this stage of life, I will take whatever help I can get!

Of course, there are the requisite Chicken Littles squawking about how it's dangerous because robbers use it to lure unaware people into danger or that the EEEEEEEEEEVIL Google is going to farm your personal information because of a glitch or that kids are wandering into museums and memorials and being disrespectful or even that kids are sneaking out in the middle of the night to catch Pokemon.

Those last two have little to do with the actual game. That's more of a crisis of character and possibly a failure of parenting. If you have kids that are playing the game - as with anything - you set boundaries and rules and punishments if those rules are broken. Same with people who run businesses and museums and such. If you don't want people coming in with Pokemon GO, you say so. You have every right to kick people out who are disrupting the normal flow of your establishment.

The other cited dangers? I personally use Google for a lot of things and they have my information anyway. It's a risk that I've accepted and I'm comfortable with (and the company is addressing the issue - if they haven't already). And it's just a smart practice to be aware of your surroundings, regardless of what you're doing or when you're doing it. You don't need a glorified scavenger hunt game to tell you that.

Even though I've addressed these concerns, there are still people who are going to bitch and moan about Pokemon and how it's clogging up their Facebook feeds. Because heaven knows we haven't seen too many "Share this to show you love dogs" posts or sped-up recipe videos on social media, have we?

Here's my thing - I work in the news. Lately, the news has been utter shit. Not just lately - 2016 has been a totally crap year (other than I got married this year... though it was so early in the year that it was kind of a hold-over from the gloriousness of 2015). So when I started seeing people get excited about a new Pokemon game and they started posting about it EVERYWHERE, I took it as a break from the relentless march of death and destruction and doom. It was nice to see something that wasn't about people yelling at each other. Instead, they were going outside and chasing after adorable little virtual creatures. It was fun!

But like anything good that comes along, the Fun Police have to put a stop to it. Nobody is allowed to enjoy themselves anymore. People are dying, politicians are corrupt, children are starving - how DARE you have fun with ANYTHING!

Um... yeah. I dare to have fun. Precisely because the world is so effed-up. I can't marinate in the sludge of bad news and negativity all day without some kind of break. I will go absolutely crazy if I don't have something to break it up. I can't be plugged in every waking minute. I have to stop and recharge, otherwise I will lose my mind. And, honestly, I'm better at my actual work when I do take a break and remind myself that all is not lost. Seems counter-intuitive sometimes, but whatever works, right?

If you're not as sad and miserable as they are, then the Fun Police come and try to ruin all your fun. And I abhor and detest the Fun Police so much, that I have made it my mission in life to do whatever I love that annoys them. I think that's the best revenge, actually. And it's so much more enjoyable.

I haven't addressed the big-time adulty-types who look down their noses at the adults playing this game (like me) and are all "Ugh - what are you, ten?" To them, I point to a CS Lewis quote that Jared actually introduced me to - told you all he was an awesome catch (emphasis mine) -
“Critics who treat 'adult' as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.
C. S. Lewis
Jack knew what he was talking about.

Like I said - let the grumps be grumpy. I'm too busy enjoying life.

No comments:

Post a Comment