Unexpected Benefits


Life Face First: Negotiating One Calamity at a Time

My husband Brian came home from work to find me on the couch engrossed with my cell phone.

“Hi,” he said.

I grunted in response.

“Did you have a good day?” he asked.

I grunted again.

“Did you know that your left eyebrow is on fire?” he questioned dryly.

Half a grunt.

Suddenly, Brian’s hand appeared in front of the screen on my phone. It waved back and forth.

“Hello!” he shouted in my ear.

“Ouch!” I said accusingly. “I’m not deaf.”

“You might as well be,” he muttered. “What’s so interesting on your phone?”

“This new game,” I told him. “Pokémon Go.”

“I saw a news story about that game,” he replied. “People are subjecting themselves to all kinds of horrors like sprained wrists and cracked screens from not paying attention while playing it. I heard some guy fell off a cliff.”

I shrugged. “People were doing all that on cell phones before this game came out. I bet more people have died taking selfies than while playing Pokémon.”

“I don’t get it,” he said. “What do you do?”

“You walk around in real life looking for Pokémon – they’re weird but cute cartoon characters. You then throw a ball at them to ‘catch’ them,” I explained.

“What do you do with them after you catch them?”

“I don’t know,” I replied. “I haven’t gotten that far yet.”

“Okaaaaaaaaaay.” He said it in a way that implied that he thought I was crazy.

“I know. It sounds dumb,” I told him, “but you should try it. It does far more good than harm. It’s funny, it makes me laugh and I’m getting exercise.”

Brian likes computer games. Even though he wasn’t impressed with my description of Pokémon Go, he downloaded the game and gave it a try.

“I’m too old for this,” he laughed. We were walking through our apartment community with our dog Starla. We were looking for Pokémon. Starla was sniffing bushes and street signs.

“Too old, but you’re doing it anyway,” I teased.

“This is really addictive,” he said happily. He zoned out as he became engrossed in a battle with a cartoon pigeon.

We walked for another hour catching Pokémon. We met twelve neighbors who were also playing the game.

After, we returned to our apartment for a late dinner.

When we entered the apartment, Starla flopped on the floor with a sigh and promptly fell asleep.

We stared at her.

“She hasn’t even had her dinner,” Brian said.

The “d” word usually makes Starla leap to her feet and sprint to her food bowl. That night, she snored.

“How many times did you take her to look for Pokémon?” I asked him.

“Four not counting the walk we just did,” he replied sheepishly. “You?”

“Three not counting the walk we just did,” I replied.

“When you listed the good things Pokémon Go does, you forgot the most important one,” he told me. “You forgot that it, unlike everything else we’ve tried, makes the dog tired!”


Nora Blithe

 Nora Blithe is the author of the syndicated humor column “Life Face First.” Read her blog online at NoraBlithe.com.