Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Suburban Man: Oh Stewardess, I speak Pokemon

By Rick Kaempfer

Remember that scene in airplane when the stewardess can't understand what the two African-American gentlemen are saying because they are using thick slang? June Cleaver taps her on the shoulder to say: "Oh stewardess, I speak jive."

Well, I feel the same way whenever strangers are listening to Sean and Johnny talk to each other in Pokemon. It's a foreign language that no-one above the age of 14 is supposed to understand. And like the reaction June Cleaver (Barbara Billingsley) gets when she speaks jive, I get a few double-takes when I speak Pokemon to the boys in public.

Here's a sample conversation:

Sean: How come you get to be parasect but I'm goldeen?
Johnny: Goldeen has 60HP. That's not bad.
Dad: Johnny, be fair. One's water and one's grass.
Johnny: Then let's do fire.
Sean: I'm Magmortar.
Johnny: OK, then I'm Charizard.
Sean: NO!
Dad: That's fair, Sean. Both of them have over 100HP.
Sean: But...
Dad: Sean, he gave you first choice.
Johnny: Pokebattle!
Sean: Smoke Bomb!
Johnny: Aaaaah. Combustion!
Sean: Aaaaah. Flame Drum!
Johnny: Missed me.
Dad: Johnny! You know you can't do that.
Johnny: What?
Dad: How did it miss you?
Sean: Yeah! That has 80HP!
Johnny: Charizard can use a bursting inferno to deflect.
Dad: You know it's only 50HP. Cmon, now. Play fair.

It's taken me years to figure it out, mind you, but I think I've finally gotten it down. I learned it for the same reason I learned everything else in my house.

To break up fights.

I'm sure all the translators at the State Department learned their languages for the same reason. And while you may laugh at the meaninglessness of my Pokemon knowledge, I'd like you to keep one thing in mind: If kids take over the world, who do you think they'll want to keep around more? You or me?

I always keep an extra Machamp in my pocket, just in case.

It's got 130HP.