Monday, August 15, 2016

Now that I've caught Rattata, what do I do with him?

     The entertainment is so all-encompassing, you forget you’re outside. People are killed blundering in front of trains. Legislators fret.
     “It’s really getting out of hand,” said a councilman in Newport, Rhode Island, promoting a ban on something with the “potential to remove a person from the confines of reality.”
     No, not Pokemon Go, the cellphone game that has millions wandering around in a kind of global electronic walkabout. The above is from 34 years ago, referring to a previous high-tech menace: the Walkman, Sony’s personal tape recorder, which also put people in their own little bubble of oblivion.
     The most amazing statistic about Pokemon Go is not the tens of millions of users, but this: 7/7/16. The thing debuted July 7, meaning we’ve had it for five weeks. The Northbrook police have already held their own Pokemon Go event. The Walkman was around for years before government grew alarmed.
     I learned about Pokemon Go in the quaintest, most low-tech way possible. My wife noticed two young ladies walking up our driveway, phones in hand.

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  1. Looking around my rail car or restaurant I find myself one of the few people not staring at my hand, or more precisely, poking at a hand-held screen, choosing not to own a phone smarter than I am. And the phenomenon is, of course, international. Entering "Da Mario," one of the fine dining establishements we frequent in the charming Italian town of Buonconvento, a stop on the "Via Francegena," the pilgrim's road from Paris to Rome, where the German Emperor Henry VII died suddenly in 1313, and is said to have been poisoned by priests, we noted a legend chalked on the board that usually lists the day's specialties. It read: "Don't want to talk to your husband. Don't want to talk to your wife. No problem. We have Wi-Fi." The work, no doubt, of Christofer, the proprietor -- the eponymous Mario was his grandfather -- who is the only member of the staff fluent in English.

    Futile, of course, to protest. "O tempora, o mores."

    Tom Evans

  2. Thank you for "quotidian".

    I also noticed kids around town, in groups, looking at their cell phones. My first impulse, given the zombie like gazing at a screen, was to shake my head in pity. Upon further reflection I decided that at least they were out of their basements, communing with one another is some fashion. Is this how you realize you are officially a geezer?

  3. Recently viewed an episode of a Korean Drama involving a very young married couple, who realizing that they were about to have a dispute, turned their backs on each other and retreated to opposite sides of their room and began texting back and forth. I thought that a grand improvement to a shouting match.


  4. I've made the somewhat reluctant decision to abstain from succumbing to the Pokemon Go culture, for fear I'll end up wandering aimlessly around God-knows-where in a catatonic state, ending in some type of embarrassingly unfortunate circumstance. Looks fun, though.


  5. What a travesty that so many people are like sheep.


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