(Cleaning out the draft inventory in my Yahoo! files and I had happened to have stumbled upon this little ditty – of which memory serves was written intentionally for a magazine called Comic Retailer which was edited by the same team of John Jackson Miller (he of best-selling Star Wars hardback fiction fame) and Maggie Thompson amongst a host of others who edited all my other soapbox comic book rantings in the weekly publication called the Comic Buyer’s Guide. I was trying to stretch my boundaries at the tail end of a business venture going belly up called Rookies & Allstars, a comic book and baseball card store I used to serve as purchasing manager and silent partner in the wooly wilds of North Hollywood, CA – known the world over as where that massive shoot out Bank of America bank robbery occurred with the idiots in Kevlar armor just a mere couple of blocks away. Anyway, I don’t think this one quite made the audition, seeing as how I don’t remember ever getting paid for it – but it’s definitely me on a highly biased opinioned maniac roll before jumping full ship on concentrating on developing my Deposit Man series in the early ‘aughts. I still hate these dumbass card games.)
101 Dishonorable Deaths To Pikachu
By Cary Coatney
By now, every child has pestered or has threatened to bludgeon their parents if demands are not met by standing in long lines over the most embarrassing phenomenon ever beheld by mankind called Pokemon. A stupid pitiful card game that suckers mom and pop to put up a mortgage over their soon to be cardboard box houses all in the name of a cheese ball slogan: ” gotta catch ’em all “.
Yeah, you’ll catch ’em all, all right, straight on in to the poor house as well as the leave of all your motor coordination.
The phenomenon still continues to grasp more momentum in all time lows in shove it in your face marketing. Not even chain chewing ex-lax can save you from all the happy meal constipation that awaits before you. Is your intestinal tract worth the sacrifice ? Is the price of a bargain matinée for a family of three or four and going back ex-number times just for another package of flimsy cardboard worth the misery and aggravation to see other boom generation parents such as yourself resort to infantilism when these theater and restaurant chains are close to completely forever running out of them ? Your kids couldn’t give a rat’s mousetrapped gangrene rotting poophole, not while they’re trying to make out like cock-fight trainers or junk bond traders with your living wages! In groups of tens and twenties, nonetheless!
How much of an idiot are you to fall victim to such tomfoolery ? I mean, look at you, you are just as dumb and naive as your parents were in the fifties and sixties when a date at the drive-in meant spending wads of cash on the concession stands for coke and hot dogs just because of subliminal little adverts inserted in between frames of ” My Mother was An Alien Homemaker “. All this suppressed gullibility is only going to worsen when you allow your children to sit like mental retards in front of the idiot box with their glued and glazed little eyeballs velcro to Pokemon, like say, maybe 13 times a week!
And it’s all accredited towards what the children confirm as ” hype “.
Now, let us pause briefly for a bit to ascertain where good and bad ” hype ” come from. In terms of good hype, I present to you Exhibit A: ( no, not the latest issue of Batton Lash’s Supernatural Law, you dolts ) Here we have an advance video copy of the Blair Witch Project which was handed to me approximately two months before being released in theaters. The person who handed me this copy told me it was the most horrifying ” documentary ” he had ever seen, even more horrifying than Faces of Death.
Faces of Death ? Geez, what could be more worse ? His little pitch worked, not long after viewing it, I went on the internet, invaded numerous chatrooms and was culpable myself in festering in another flock of believers. That misleading brazen word of mouth advertising is regarded as ” good hype ” and went on to prove that ” independent films can be blockbusters too “. Blair Witch Project broke astronomical box office records for its genre of film, and currently is in video sales. Now that it’s come and gone in the space of five months, it hasn’t left a slime trail in its’ wake. There does not lie a threat of overkill.
Then there’s J.K. Rowling touting her Harry Potter books all over the world despite death threats made against her from religious head-on wanting to ban them from classrooms, expressing their dismay that all three books she has written each promote witchcraft, black magic, Satanism, tooth decay you name it, while others praise her for her literal genius and encouraging children to read for their lives once again. Others, like me realize it’s all bad hype is because no one has the heart to tell these people how J.K. Rowling blatantly plagiarized the character of Harry Potter from Tim Hunter’s DC Comics ” Books of Magic ” series. I can just smell the whiff of greased fatty lawsuits now. Won’t be long.
(2016 update. 17 years later………Yeah, any minute now)
And yet, the artificial hype of Pokemon conquers all. And the reason I say it’s artificial, because it’s all based on a foundation of corporate lies and needless proletarian allocations, just pushing to make you pucker up for the biggest kiss-ass of the 20th Century as you allow these Wizards of the Coast playing card panhandlers to play capitalist pigs and further dictate to you how many and how much, or better yet, where you can spend money on your child through those insipid useless mall outlets they own called the Game Keeper. They even have radio spots proclaiming themselves as ” the Pokemon Experts ” Keep that in mind as you hear associates lie through their teeth when they tell you they’re fresh out come back tomorrow – when you know full well that they’ve got four more cases squirreled away for the next day and the day after that (how many distribution chains get in their merchandise in on a Sunday ? )- for the greedy reason that they have to keep a precise day-to-day selling quota, let alone a certain level of control over how much your kids can have while they meticulously continue to stretch or bend federal trade laws. Game Keeper must be the only ones obstinately profiting off the retail price, while us little guys like Rookies are forced to jack up the price just to keep in the Pikachu rat race and there have been times when some of those associates have recognized us as ” outside selling parties ” and refuse to sell to us at all because we bear the mark of the consummate ” limit of ten per customer ” each day and out.
In my observation, Game Keeper can harbor a harsh mistress when it comes to the physically challenged. Case in point: I was called in yet again (this whole phenomenon bloody wrecks havoc with my personal life you practically have to have a police band radio tuned in once word spreads that a Games Keeper gets a shipment in) by Rookies and Allstars to jump in a vehicle and race over to Northridge Fashion Mall one Saturday morning, a morning usually reserved for taping Batman Beyond and Avengers cartoons, (and even those precious minutes of sanctity has been violated ) just get my but on-line. Others seem to have gotten the same tip: the line stretched across the entire length of the right-wing of the mall. But, the associate from Rookies who had also accompanied me has a physical handicap- and could not stand a long length of time without the use of a cane. Certain people in line sympathized that my associate should be exemplified and stand in front of the line. Others weren’t as sympathetic. So when it came time to open the doors, the Game Keeper staff took sides with all the minority of thou not in favor.
Regardless of blocked passages access to other mall shops and fire exits, the money I had in my pocket to pay for the Fossil booster packs was not my own and my time was being compensated for. The handicapped associate and I had to wait for more than an hour during which we were constantly reprimanded by mall security that my partner in line could not lean on the neighboring store windows for support. Afterward, we got these stupid cards to our customers who were too lazy to wait in line to pay a buck fifty less than what we were selling them for. Rumor has it, that the Game Keeper/ Wizards of the Coast’s day-to-day changes in the rules of customer conduct have led to a few of their associates to quit and sell what they squirreled away with their 20% discount and are making a killing with their impromptu ” severance pay “.
What is it about having crudball knock offs such as Digimon and Monster Ranchers airing on the opposite FoxKids Network- preempting other new children’s programming such as Spider-man Unlimited and Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot for the unforeseeable future? Why must they air two or three of these shoddy looking dreadful episodes in one morning ? Don’t these networks realize that prolong exposure leads to poor attention spans ? Now someone corrected me the other day concerning the fact that both Digimon and Monster Rancher were around way before Pikachu was in anime Pampers but, who cares ? it’s still the same asinine premise!
Now mortgage companies and museums are wanting a piece of the action. A LA realtor actually gave out free family movie passes to the movie’s premiere as an incentive to buy a few acres. Children recently attending the Pompeii exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art were offered the opportunity to make Romanesque medallions out of supple metal, but rather than have the children come up with swell engraving designs of their own, they had a choice of pictures featuring Pikachu to trace on the sheets of metal. Which goes to show, if you want to heighten a child’s development in creative awareness, just pop on a video or load up a Pokemon game cartridge it’s already way too late to eschew the one hundred and fifty-one icons already buried deep inside within their social conscience once they follow the Nintendo breadcrumb trail right out of that museum or public library right on past the echelons of those gathered for Burger King trade night.
It amazes me, how parents these days are all bragging to the media of how their children are able to display a cognitive ability to memorize all the names and characteristics of each Pokemon, yet are deficient in basic learning skills such as reading and writing as if they have been graced by God. When I was a teen ager, I had the rare natural talent of memorizing at least all titles and plot lines of 150 issues of the Amazing Spider-man comic book and I never got a gold star on the refrigerator for my pain-staking effort. Here’s a suggestion for parents: instead of sitting down and investing long tedious hours in the game that pays tribute to much ado about nothing, why not use these same cards as flash cards for reading and learning, instead of reciting goofball names such as Donphan, Snubbull, Grabass, or Marill?
I’m sure that there are some who are in agreement with me this fad is getting way out of hand. There are just too many self-serving jerks out there with outrageous auction internet sites who keep feeding the frenzy to those tricked in losing, close enough, their Ben Franklins just so junior can achieve his half-baked aspirations to be the coolest kid on the block. And as long as you keep falling for it, it will just go on and on until you cry Uncle Pog or at least, beg for drawstring pants to come back in style.
In recent months, some school administrators have already banned Pokemon cards and games from schools as disruptive elements, some parents have filed lawsuits, partially in San Diego, over the supposedly pernicious effects of trading the cards, especially on school grounds. Wars are fought on playgrounds and some of the kids wind up losing their shirt because they are not aware of the perpetual value that these internet wheeling dealers place on them. You can’t even escape reading the morning edition without hearing honorable mention in even the most tragic of stories:
A mother shooting her three sons in the head in Ventura County. A Los Angeles Times reporter just had to make light of the fact that one of the victims was a ” hardcore addict of Pokemon “. Like this sudden revelation is going to serve as a detrimental blow in her upcoming prosecution. In time, gravestone prices will soon escalate due to those who play with Pokemon and run afoul of first degree manslaughter.
Isn’t this magazine about comic readers and retailing ? And aren’t you (the retailer) supposed to encourage to support literacy by selling and reading comic books ? Then what are you doing selling Pokémon?
Let me tell you; you may be having a Merry Christmas right now (at least I know Rookies is, because we’re clearing in almost a $ 1000.00 a day), but what is it going to mean in the long run when Pikachu’s profits start to pummel like lemmings off a cliff ? By your constant procrastinating in competition to have the best Pikachu boutique in town, you may have been more successful sacrificing away your loyal comic book customer base, the ones who matter the most, the ones who show up loyally every Wednesday to lick the dirt off your carpet with their tongues just for the privilege of having a subscription service suddenly notice your selling interests are lying elsewhere. Frankly, I don’t appreciate walking in a comic shop myself and seeing big furry yellow rodents barring my path from my true purchasing goals. Either get out of the comic book selling business or open a boutique that only sells Pokemon exclusively and witness it die a quick death. It has become impossible for the two to co-exist.
One of the owners of Rookies is perplexed about my animosity over this whole nauseating fad. He suggested, that I should sit down and learn how to play the card game, and get a grasp on understanding it. I have no hidden desires to even glance at the instruction manual (I’m afraid I’ll pass out, just like I do through most of the current Marvel Comics rooster). I refused to comply, but corrected me to say that is where I’m wrong. By standing in line for long hours waiting just to drop forty to fifty dollars a pop, I’ve already served as a willing contestant in the game of supply and demand like the kind of corporate game Wizard of the Game and Nintendo wants everyone to play.
November 15-December 15, 1999
Personal notes to self while composing essay.
6. Burger King, Warner Bros- trading card nights why are major corporations putting so much stock in
such a product that causes ill mental health amongst people. The animation is choppy why aren’t masses
of children exposed to Princess Mononoke ?
7, Why are parents crapping out by yanking their child out on a school day, just to collect cards at a
movie theater ?