Good afternoon, Connor.

I did the eye roll thing over the latest iteration of Pokemon and figured it was just another mindless time suck best left to the younguns. That was before I read these two words: AUGMENTED REALITY.

No self-respecting, shiny-ball-loving geek could pass up that challenge. I’ve speculated about the pragmatic possibilities of virtual and augmented for longer than your MadaDada is old. (Hundreds of journalists will do their own eye rolls when they read this. They suffered through an eternity of hours listening to me ramble.)

Anyway, I downloaded the app and (shivers along the spine), there’s a Pokemon thingy right down the street from me. Sorely tempted to dash out the doors in search of Bulbasaur in the real world, I just smacked him with a virtual ball. Cute thing, though.

It’s taken less than 24 hours for my social media news feeds to meltdown over the Pokemon Go phenomena. In between news headlines, cat videos, recipes and friends’ birthdays — all the glorious, confused and cluttered stuff of life that makes me love social media — there’s all the adorable Pokemon characters.

A surprising number of people are hitting the Outrage Button, with comments along the lines of “what the heck is this waste; aren’t there more important things in the world”?

cropped-KWWM_Letters.pngI’d say conclusively that starving children, dying parents and the implosion of the world as we know it are but three of today’s Top 100 Most Important Things Over Which We Should Hit The Outrage Button.

I use the Outrage Button frequently. It’s a galvanizing tool when one writes columns and editorials. See, read, hear, smack the Outrage Button and your fingers roar across the keyboard. Put a period on it. Hit send. Grab a smoke and a drink with friends. Outrage spent. Gear up. Do it again. Occasionally the outrage makes a difference, which, of course, is a good thing. A lot of time, the outrage fades in whispers.

These days smacking the Outrage Button is a split second click of Facebook’s angry face. That’s a problem because too much outrage exhausts us, makes us ineffective, encourages us to substitute a click of the Outrage Button for getting off our backsides and doing something to make a difference.

And then there’s Pokemon. It makes us smile. It’s a respite from the staggeringly challenging world. Pokemon Go an extraordinarily simple, fun integration of advanced technology, social interaction and walking around your neighborhood. Not a lot of downside.

In the midst of all the things over which we must be outraged, taking a few minutes to find pleasure restores us and makes us strong for the work on which we then turn our efforts. I walked to the White Street Pier this morning playing my version of Pokemon Go: Find half a dozen tiny things along the way that make me smile and remind me there a good things in the world.

Here’s my list:

  • The now-fading-a-little-bit-everyday black asphalt that made the pier one hot walk a month ago
  • Tourists take the time to explore the island
  • The Conch Train conductors who repeat the same things a dozen times and make them sound like the first time
  • A string of a 15 rental bike folks who streamed through the park, each smiling and nodding as they passed me
  • Two mangoes from our tree that dropped in the pool and didn’t split or bruise
  • Herbie the Frog, whom your Ghee painted one day for no reason at all, except it was fun

If I can figure out how not to scare the neighbors so they won’t call the cops, I’m going to find that Pokemon thingy up the street.

Love you, Connor Cunningham. Don’t forget your prayers.

“Dear Connor” will become a collection of occasional blog posts written for Connor Cunningham by his grandmother, Linda Grist Cunningham. I began writing these as my construct for making sense of the unraveling American community. Connor may never read them, nor might others; but they’ll help me distill solutions from the cacophony that passes for discourse in the summer of 2016.  



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