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November 24th, 2017

Society

Pokemon Go, Draymond Green prove smartphones not so smart

Mitch Albom

By Mitch Albom

Published August 9, 2016

If there is one huge difference between the older and younger generations, it's how they use their cell phones. Old people squint and tap out numbers.

Young people put them down their pants.

Thus, we once again get a story of a celebrity inadvertently showing the world his private parts. Draymond Green, the former Michigan State basketball star who now plays for Golden State and the U.S. Olympic team, recently apologized for accidentally posting a shot of his manly assets to Snapchat.

In explaining that it was meant to be a private photo, he told the media, "I kinda hit the wrong button."

Again, a difference in generations: To Green, the wrong button was the one that sent the picture to cyberspace. To older folks, it was the one that snapped it in the first place.

Honestly, truly, if I were stuck in a cave for 100 years with nothing but an iPhone, I would still never think of sticking it down my pants. Any more than I would think of putting a banana up my nose.

But Green is not alone. Men as famous as Brett Favre and as infamous as Anthony Weiner have done the same. Can I ask a question? Who gets one of these pictures and says, "Heyyy, great shot!" The male instrument has many attributes; photographing well is not one of them.

"We're all one click away from placing something in the wrong place," Green told the media.

So true. Even though, once again, he means one place and I mean another.

Pokemon is a joke, man

Still, playing Annie Leibovitz with your nether regions seems almost normal to us older folks - compared with the current craze of "Pokemon Go."

This zombie-inducing phenomenon has people - mostly younger people, of course - wandering the Earth with their phones in front of them, in search of virtual creatures called Pokemon, which they eventually capture through their devices, then fall off a cliff.

OK, that's only happened a few times. Really. Two California men (in their early 20s, what a shock!) fell between 50 and 90 feet off a bluff while chasing Pokemon. Firefighters had to rescue them. (Note to players: Those little creatures can't drive an ambulance.)

"Pokemon Go" enthusiasts throw imaginary balls at the imaginary creatures and collect imaginary candy and imaginary stardust. I am not making this up.

Again, honestly, truly, in 100 years, in a world with nobody else in it, I would not walk behind an outstretched phone trying to capture cartoony creatures like Bill Murray did in "Ghostbusters." At least in that movie, they laughed at themselves.

Pokemon people are serious. So serious they actually consider this a social activity. On a radio show last week, I debated a caller who earnestly insisted that "Pokemon Go" was bringing people together.

"You talk to others," he said.

Here's a news flash, kids. It's not relationship-building conversation if it goes like this:

"What team are you on?"

"Mystic."

"Cool."

"I think there's one over there!"

"Where?"

(Everyone looks at screen. Walks off cliff.)

Better use of time

Another justification used by Pokemon folks is that the game gets players to go places - since its designers dropped virtual monsters all over the globe.

Well, technically, that's true. But you should be going places to see the places, not to explore what bogeymen might be hiding there. If the only thing that gets you off the couch is walking somewhere behind your device, you might as well take the couch with you.

Oh. I forgot to mention there is no payoff to "Pokemon Go." No money. No status. Just the pride that comes with saying "I wasted months of my time on Earth collecting all 151 creatures - while acting as if surgically attached to my smartphone." Remember the days when a phone used to hang up? Now you just switch it to another function: posting, gaming, shopping, chasing ghosts or Snapchatting your kibbles and bits.

Meanwhile, users are missing out on life. Real life. Young readers may hate me for saying that. They may insist my generation doesn't get it. That we are scared of a virtual world. That we mock things that are beyond our comprehension.

And I will again say, honestly, truly, that in 100 years, no matter what happens on this planet, chasing imaginary monsters and sending photos of your genitals will NEVER be worthy activities.

Sorry. But that's the wisdom that comes with age. Something young people would be wiser to pursue than virtual stardust.

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