There are certain events in life that when they happen you know exactly where you were at that time and a few days ago one of those momentous events happened to me. I was sitting at the gas pump of a Shell station when my wife turned to me and made the announcement. She looked at me and quietly said “I’m going to buy some PokeBalls.” Now when the Pokemon Go app first came out I downloaded it but I was skeptical as I am of most things and at first didn’t see the appeal of walking around looking like an idiot staring at my phone trying to find imaginary creatures. But then I started playing it and suddenly I myself was swept up in the fun and excitement of playing the game and trying to catch em’ all. This game allowed me like a childhood hero of mine, Ash Ketchum, the main character in the Pokemon TV show, to be a Pokemon trainer which apparently was a subconscious dream of mine that I hadn’t realized until I started catching Pokemon.
When my wife told me of her intentions to spend money on Pokemon Go I took a very holier than thou attitude towards the whole idea. To me it felt like wrong. It wasn’t necessarily cheating but it was taking the easy way out like Kevin Durant’s recent decision to go play basketball for the Warriors. Of something I didn’t even care about a few weeks ago I suddenly became a purist with strong beliefs about acceptable behavior for playing Pokemon Go. If I was going to realize my dream of becoming a Pokemon trainer I was going to do it legitimately without using any outside help. If I ran out of PokeBalls I would get more the old fashion way by driving around to various churches and parks and sitting in the parking lot for a few seconds. My disapproval in my wife’s decision was clearly evident as I declared to her and anyone else who would listen that I would NEVER spend money on the game…but last Thursday night I was really bored.
We were sitting in the living room watching some mind numbing show on TV and every few minutes my wife would exclaim something and that really started to annoy me, not because she was interrupting a horrible television show but because of what she was saying. She took it upon herself to announce every Pokemon that walked into our living room and that she had caught it essentially rubbing in the fact that I was out of PokeBalls and hadn’t caught anything in four days. The game had become an addiction by this time and I needed my Pokemon fix and the breaking point was when she said that there was a bulbasaur sitting happily in the middle of the rug. I don’t know how it is where you live but for me I rarely see a bulbasaur so I had to capitalize on this opportunity of him sitting in my apartment if I ever wanted the chance to evolve the one I currently had. What’s amazing to me is how easily I discarded all my beliefs about something and bought some PokeBalls. I swear I only intended to spend one dollar to buy twenty but something was lagging in my iTunes account or something and the first time I put a dollar in it didn’t show up that I had any money with which to buy PokeBalls. This was a pretty big problem given the uncertainty of how long bulbasaur would stay and I didn’t have time to investigate the whereabouts of my missing dollar so I put another dollar in. Now my account decides to start cooperating and it showed that I had 200 virtual coins that can only be spent on the app instead of the 100 that I had intended to get.
I got the bulbasaur but I still lack over forty candies needed to evolve him which may never happen. It’s possible that I was lying to myself about the urgency needed to catch this Pokemon in order to justify going against my word that I would never taint the pure world of Pokemon with my earthly money. I wish I could say that it stopped there, that I moved passed that dark time in my life and went on to redeem myself in the eyes of the Pokemon gods by playing the game as it was intended. The truth is whilst my wife and I were walking a couple of days later I wasted almost ten PokeBalls, my last ten PokeBalls trying to catch a Pikachu. I already had one but I figured another wouldn’t hurt plus after the second time he escaped from my PokeBall it became a matter of pride and I couldn’t walk away and allow him to win. I had to catch him. So after I ran out of PokeBalls I made the decision to spend five real dollars for 100 imaginary PokeBalls that way I wouldn’t have to worry about running out for a while, but when I went back Pikachu was gone but my shame had arrived. How did I let this game become so important to me that I would spend actual money that I worked hard to earn? In that moment I made a vow to myself that I would never again let that happen and I can honestly say that I’ve stuck to that promise. However, my stash of PokeBalls has dwindled down to the single digits and I really don’t feel like driving to the church down the street for a couple of PokeBalls. This is becoming an expensive habit. I’m going to need a second job.