A New Summer Scourge

So far I’ve talked in these pages about the usual summer plagues: bugs, deer, chipmunks that have attacked my plants, the excessive heat, lack of rain, seasonal allergies etc. that we all complain about this time of year.  This year, however, my house has been invaded by a new, insidious virus that has infected my children and most of their friends.  This blight seems to spread via those places where children congregate in the heat–camps, pools, playgrounds–and from there is spread back to our houses where it soon takes over.  No, I am not talking about the Coxsackie virus, or even lice, I am talking about Pokemon.

Pokemon?  For any of you who do not keep company with children under age 10 (or for those of you who grew up before the mid- ’90’s when this evil empire first took over our youth), Pokemon is a media enterprise owned by Nintendo which centers on 649 fictional characters (“pocket monsters”) with cutesy names names like Stunfisk and Scraggy and each with specific characteristics and powers.  Pokemon exists in video games, anime t.v. and film, toys and books but the form that seems to most infect the kids in my neck of the woods is as trading cards, each with drawings of a character and their specific fighting powers.

Trading cards seem innocent enough but for the last few weeks my two sons and many of their friends have been able to talk and think about nothing else but these derivative creatures.  All I hear all day long is whether Whosit is going to ‘evolve’ into Whatsit or what damage Blah-blah is going to do against Yada-Yada.  This talk goes on for hours as they trade, compare and study intensely every card in their possession.  There is absolutely nothing of value in these conversations–no real information, no critical thought, nothing but bonding over nothing.  Which I guess may be the point after all.  Essence of summer: hanging out with friends and just enjoying being together.   So maybe tomorrow I’ll sit by the pool with my boys and trade a card or two.  Who knows, that Picachu may just be worth being around afterall.

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