“I’m sorry, I don’t play Pokémon Go,” I say to practically anyone who will listen to me. Is it because I don’t want to be looped in with a bunch of adults acting like children? Not really. After all, I’m an adult who acts like a child every day. No, I don’t play Pokémon Go because I dislike camaraderie, and I dislike nostalgia. Sure, I could fake going back to a simpler time---a time where I didn’t have to pay taxes, we were blissfully unaware of this election, and your family didn’t write #ALLLIVESMATTER on their Facebook like a damn doofus---but it wouldn’t be real. I can’t unsee what I’ve seen since then. We are not getting our innocence back, ever, and Pikachu isn’t going to be the one to hand it to us if we could.
And the camaraderie might be worse. If we’re finally going to band together as a country, it better not be over this. The articles and think pieces pouring out of writers like Mountain Dew, promising a new world where we all catch them all makes me nervous. I hate meeting new people. I never want to talk to anyone. I am not going to change this for a Charizard.
Either way, for whatever reasons you don’t play, here are a few alternatives as to what to do instead…you know, as long as we’re all here wasting time:
1. . Just Barge Into Places Anyway
Isn’t that what this game is really about? Entering places you wouldn’t normally enter, sometimes for legal reasons (as “trespassing” is “illegal”), and taking photos? That seems…like something you shouldn’t be doing, but now that everybody’s jumping off that bridge, perhaps you should too. Blast into the Museum of Natural History, screaming nonsense. Run full force into your local restaurant, people’s backyards, your grandma’s kitchen, whatever. Polite society be damned. Now that it’s a social norm, nobody will question why you’re doing it.
2. . Give Your Personal Information to OTHER Corporations
Pokémon Go has access to a bunch of things on your phone you would normally keep private, like your emails. Eh, why be the only person not getting violated by Big Brother? Go to Facebook Headquarters and just hand over your email password to the Zuck himself. Tell the guy behind you on the coffee line your ATM pin code. You don’t want to be the only loser without a breach of privacy.
3. . Run Around Like A Lunatic
Michelle Obama has been telling us to run around and be active for years and now she’s leaving office and this is how we repay her? We’re running around and being active? Good! Just because you don’t play doesn’t mean you can’t dart around city and country roads. Get moving, you lazy slob! Make it fun by pretending you’re looking for something, like a new season of Game of Thrones or a quarter. I don’t know. Just run like no one's watching, or like you're being chased!
4. . Talk To Strangers About Your Other Phone Apps
I’m sure there are plenty of apps on your phone that people will love to hear about. I’ve been counting my steps via the Health app. It’s a blast. It reminds me how little I move. You know, like a slug. I bet strangers would love to hear about that! There are plenty of other apps people want to hear you talk about, especially if you don’t know them. Your Snapchat filter where you are a dog, but you aren’t actually a dog! Your photo editor! That one game where you line up jellybeans! There are plenty of other games on your phone!
5. . Be Smug About Not Playing A Fun Game
Some people don’t play the game because they love making other people feel bad about liking popular things. These were the same kids in elementary school who made fun of the kind of music you like, or the clothes you wore, or that you played Pokémon fifteen years ago. And guess what! Not liking a thing doesn’t make you particularly cool or interesting. It just means you don’t like it!
6. . Just Don't Be A Jerk
Oh, whatever. You might not play this game, but there are plenty of lame things you’re obsessed with and have fun doing that nobody’s making fun of you for. So do the nice thing and just don’t play this silly game, but lay off it, will you? The world is a garbage can and there are so few joys left. Leave the people to catch the things.