By Richard L. Parcia
BANGKOK — I don?t get it. Perhaps, I am old. Or too serious. Or even ignorant. I just don?t get it. Why the heck would I chase a virtual animal on the streets? I just don?t get it.
However, instead of berating those who are doing it with an admonishment (i.e. ?Get a Life!?), I will console myself with the thought that in the age of personal rights over many, whatever floats your boat is a catch-all justification for any craze.
Nevertheless, let me enumerate some pretty nice alternatives to this onslaught of imagination and hype. Instead of chasing virtual cute little monsters and throw away money, you may want to do the following:
Read books. For millennials and the generation before them, this might be a little boring. In an era wherein Fifty Shades of Grey is treated better than a Pulitzer Prize-winning tome, people will definitely find reading as a boring exercise. Books that are good will drive your imagination way beyond the thought of a cute little monster. It?s a good alternative. Please prove society wrong against the belief that the last two decades will be known in history as the age wherein people actually read less but gave more opinion than the previous generations.
Play sports. I know. Not everyone has the physique of a Durant, a Ronaldo, or a Nadal. However, they are professionals and do what they do every day. We don?t. However, the benefits of exercise go beyond health. It allows you to meet other people and bond with them. What?s not to love about pickup games? Don?t worry about bruises. Chicks or dogs dig scars, remember. Who knows? You might even meet the love of your life inside the tennis court and she might even be Sharapova. Or a lookalike.
Pick-up an instrument. Rock ?n roll, baby. Okay, you suck. But playing an instrument is no different from learning how to write. It?s a skill and like any other skill, you hone it for your years. However, it doesn?t stop you from starting small by just studying your favorite song. I know of at least 10 songs that can be played with just DAGA (chords D-A-G-A) with some of them anthemic in nature. Just play with gusto. It doesn?t have to be on a stage. It can be in the university grounds. Or a corner in high street (where I busked once). Or in front of a 711 parking space. Anywhere. Have somebody sing along with you. Or sing yourself and let your inner Bono (my age) or Lady Gaga do the talking.
Do a photo safari. You have your camera phone. So use it to capture images in a park, school, a corridor, a village, etc. The cameras on our phones today are way better than the point of shoots of before. Don?t worry about what you can see with the pros. The taking of photographs is just like writing. Write and don?t think. You have time to think when you do the edits later. Go visit our outdoors and breathe the fresh air or what’s left of it. The best way to protect our forests is to enjoy them as they are and fall in love with them. You can?t protect what you do not love. And you cannot love what you do not know. And while you are outdoors, try to plan a tree. It?s not hard. You are doing yourself a favor. Again, like playing sports, do it with others. Who knows? The tree that you planted will be the scene where you will play your instrument to the person you love.
There it is. A list of some alternatives. This is probably my shortest entry. And forgive my curmudgeon personality towards this craze. I am a tech guy after all. Day in and out, I deal with systems and their complexities. My entire career was spent in front of a monitor, from the CRT to the LED.
However, across the years, I have learned how to walk away from the keyboard or keypad. There is more to life than virtual monsters. There are more friends to meet. More talents to share and receive. More colors to appreciate. And like they say, the best things in life are free, priceless, and monster-free.
Richard L. Parcia, PhD, is currently the head for Global IT Operations Center for LafargeHolcim, based out of France. He previously worked for United Health Group and Intel. Concurrently, he teaches at the graduate school of the University of Santo Tomas.