Pokemon, real life

NOTES AND COMMENTS

November 27, 1999|By C. Fraser Smith

A CONVENTION of trading card carriers convened on a city street recently, taking both kid and parent beyond frustration to anger and despair. A Pokemon commonplace, it began with proud collectors showing prized acquisitions to friends.

They sat on the sidewalk going through their hand-carried archive of cards in ring binders.

Not much time passed before one or more of the cards -- the more expensive and rare ones, of course -- went missing. One of the conventioneers was fingered as the likely culprit.

Not so, he said stoutly. I had that one. No you didn't," said the boy whose card was missing. Even a friend of the accused said, "You didn't have that one."

Did so, said the alleged miscreant, no more than 11 or 12. He would not relent.

The victim, younger and trusting, sought help from his parents -- who were, of course, without any way of knowing what had happened. All they knew is the card was missing and rare and valuable -- worth $30 or so. They wanted the card -- and they wanted their son to fight his own battle.

But soon enough, adult confronted child, employing charm and appeals to do the right thing. Here, though, that right thing was defined variously. Not giving in may have seemed the right thing. The alleged perp did not crack. Not even close. The victim waited for his omniscient and all-powerful parents to solve the problem.

After an hour or so, defeat was admitted. And the police were called. They came, but still the card could not be liberated.

Could it be that the card was merely lost? No one thought so. Someone planned to tell the young man's mother. No one thought she could intervene with authority, either -- not because she wouldn't but because she knew less about what happened than parents on the scene.

One is left with platitudes: Welcome to the real world. . . . A valuable lesson learned. Just because the lesson is painful doesn't mean it's not a good lesson.

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