• John McGary, Woodford Sun Staff

Here's Johnny - Pokémon a ‘Go’ for Midway

Last week, I told the story of a young man I met whom I thought was playing Pokémon Go, the most popular handheld phone game in history. Instead, he was using the phone in a more constructive manner – apparently, he was texting or emailing for advice on how to reunite ducklings with their mother. I was moved. I am moved in a different direction by Pokémon Go. For ideological and financial reasons, I do not have a smart phone. Therefore, I do not and cannot play Pokémon Go. Dear Readers have read (or ignored, perhaps) my rants on the many stupid and dangerous things that people, primarily drivers, do with all sorts of cell phones. They’re a menace, these people, and I’ve got another idea about what they should do with their phones and where they should put them. However … For some reason, I’m intensely amused when I see people gazing down at their phones searching for virtual pocket monsters and gems and other Pokémon Go items. At the Midway City Council Monday, council member Libby Warfield said she was concerned about players searching for Pokémon stuff in the Sons and Daughters of Relief Cemetery. “From what I understand, Midway’s loaded with them (Pokémon Go items),” said council member Kaye Nita Gallagher. “That’s okay, but I don’t really like one in our cemetery,” Warfield replied. It was perhaps the funniest exchange I’ve heard in 27 months of covering Midway City Council. Clearly, Warfield knew the virtual item tucked away in Midway’s oldest cemetery didn’t pose a threat, save perhaps to players so immersed in their search that they stumble over a headstone and hurt themselves or, worse, the headstone. Near the end of the council discussion, several young people looking at their cell phones walked slowly past the front window of Midway City Hall. Mayor Grayson Vandegrift wrapped up the chat by saying, “Pokémon Go has officially infiltrated every part of our society.” Pokémon Go players have already been frowned on in the Kremlin, the Vatican and U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Other, lesser known sites have been declared off-limits for the game, and now it’s possible, though unlikely, that Midway cemeteries could join the list. I say, let ’em try to catch ’em all. (The preceding is a line from the theme song of the old Pokémon cartoon that inspired the game. I used to watch it with my daughter, who’s now 18 and, she claims, doesn’t play the game. My favorite Pokémon was named Koffing, who for years I thought was named Coffee, which he seemed to spew from his entire being when in battle. Maybe he was spewing virtual tuberculosis germs instead.) In my fairly humble opinion, if a Pokémon player walks into a pond searching for a pocket monster or other goodie, well, they can probably make it out without undue and long-lasting personal damage. And if they break their phone, that’s one less device out there to take a driver’s eyes and mind off the road and put me in peril. Also, it’s entirely possible that Pokémon players searching for virtual prizes will one day see something real that piques their interest and later become historians or librarians or, God forbid, journalists. Speaking of which, there’s a rumor of a fairly valuable Pokémon hiding somewhere on the second floor of the Woodford Sun building, which is located at 184 S. Main Street. Come on by and see if you can find it. Consolation prizes include a copy of The Sun, which will cost you six bits. That’s real money, by the way – not bitcoins, which we’re storing in the attic until they’re exchangeable for newsprint, paper, or raises for reporter/photographer/columnists.

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