Out of all the fads that consumed me as a kid, (the nineties had more than enough junk for foul-mouthed 10 year-olds to get addicted to) no phenomenon left me with as many vivid memories as Pokemon. I can easily remember choosing Pokemon Red over Pokemon Blue because Frankie Costanzo told me that Pokemon Red is the only one where you can get secret Pokemon. You know, the Pokemon that all the suckers on Pokemon Blue had no clue about (little did Frankie know that Blue owners had their own exclusive Pokemon). A year later, I remember using the Mew Glitch (an error that allowed me to catch a truly hidden Pokemon, Mew) causing my friend Simon to literally piss himself when he saw my Mew the next day. I remember staying up late into Friday nights, too excited for Saturday morning’s episode of Pokemon to sleep.
But what sticks out the most from my memories of Pokemon are not the games, clothing, or television shows. It was collecting trading cards. In fact, the most vivid memory of my childhood is probably the most vivid memory of most male 18-24 year olds. It was the day I got the second to last Pokemon card that I was missing. It was the day I finally got my Charizard.
My mother (and god bless her soul for going through all this Pokebullshit) was picking me up from baseball practice. As a white kid living in the middle of a Bumblefucktown, America, you are required to sign up for little league baseball and be tortured for three hours a week, three months out of the year. If you don’t, your father commits suicide. After baseball, I was always terribly exhausted. I was tired not because I tried hard, but more so because baseball practice is about as boring an experience as transcribing a Bible to looseleaf. My mother, seeing the hopelessness and distress in my eyes after recovering from sitting in the outfield picking flowers, knew how to make my day a good one.