Norine: I think I now know more about Pokemon critters than any adult needs to — ever! My DVR is filled with show episodes. We have hundreds of playing cards — all carefully sorted, alphabetized and categorized in a big binder — Binders Full of Pokemon! And not one, but two “reference” books that list the characteristics of every single Pokemon there ever was … in excruciating detail … right down to their weight to the tenth of a pound. Seriously, Jigglypuff is 12.1 pounds. Not 12 pounds. 12.1. Apparently that 0.1 makes a difference.
Jessica: Same thing at our house: books, cards, figurines. If Holden had spent as much time committing REAL FACTS to memory as he’s spent learning what various Pokemon evolve into, he’d have skipped a grade by now. He once asked me if an elephant was a “grass type.” Kinda, but the word you’re looking for is HERBIVORE.
Norine: LOL! All Fletcher ever talked about was “having a battle” with the cards. But have you ever read the instructions for how to play? It reminded me of when I tried to program my VCR (back in THOSE days) to record M*A*S*H episodes. What an exercise in total frustration! So I actually went to one of those gaming stores where teenage boys hang out and play Magic The Gathering and took … Pokemon lessons.
Jessica: You TOOK POKEMON LESSONS???
Norine: The things we do for our kids, right? Yep. ! I basically went to “Pokemon School” aka a very nice twentysomething guy sitting down with me and taking 90 minutes when he could have been playing Magic to very patiently explain the rules of play, how to assemble a “fighting” deck, what kind of energy “to run,” and which cards to never, ever, ever part with.
J: That is dedication! After several hours we (I) eventually figured out how to play only to find that the neighbors “don’t play that way.” Soooo, they do it wrong is what you’re telling me… I was ready to start swinging. Fortunately, I quickly realized there was no good way to go next door and complain to their mom that her sons were playing Pokemon incorrectly and to please encourage them to get their heads out of their asses.
N: Ha Ha! I actually needed to get my own head outta my ass. Once I’d learned how to play, I started to get a little obsessed. I am really competitive, apparently, even with Pokemon. I’d get annoyed when Fletcher wanted to trade away a really strong Pokemon card for a weak Pokemon just cuz he liked the critter. Or when he wanted to get Pokemon that didn’t make his fighting deck stronger. My husband was like Whoa! Walk it on back, babe. I had to take a big breath and just let him play the way he wanted to … even if that meant he was mixing grass types with electric types. Which still kinda bugs me, I admit.
J: Exactly! The boys he was playing with had all become fixated on how “super rare” some Pokemon were. This rarity was based on nothing more than their older cousins not having a particular guy. And the trading! Since they couldn’t agree on how to play the game, it became all about the trade. This rapidly devolved into the eight-year-olds trying to strong-arm the five-year-old into giving up “super rare” (no, they are not) Pokemon and then the five-year-old in tears, clutching bad trades to his little chest thirty minutes later.
N: Oh yeah! I hovered a bit, listening in as an eight-year-old tried to talk Fletcher out of his ZekromEX. Fortunately, Fletcher didn’t go for it. But you know what’s crazy? I actually know what a ZekromEX is. And care! Of course, the kicker is that as soon as I knew something about the game, Fletcher became fascinated with Beyblades. Now we “battle” with plastic spinning tops, which I’ve had to acquire — at $10 per, thank you. And I’m not sure what to do with all this Pokemon knowledge. Rattling off Pokemon stats doesn’t exactly make for scintillating cocktail party conversation.
J: Well, in our school, Minecraft is THE big thing right now, I’m pretty sure it’s sweeping the nation.
N: Oh, joy! ANOTHER game I have to master.