By Stephanie Lewis
My kids return to school soon but it can’t be soon enough for me ever since Pokémon Go was released. In case you haven’t seen this faddish phenomenon sweep the nation, (and you’d have to be blindfolded by your tallit to miss it) it’s a new Smartphone app you download that connects to your GPS to direct you to move about the outside world to capture strange little critters onscreen and earn points.
But as any smart Jewish mother knows, if you can’t beat ’em, you should join ’em. Therefore I present to you my version of the popular game that finally gets your kids off their tuchus and onto their own two legs (for you Yiddish speakers, that’s why I almost named it Pulkemon!) and encourages them to do good deeds (Mitzvahs) for others.
The tagline for regular Pokémon Go is “Gotta Catch ’em All!” So of course my slogan is “Never Kvetch At All!”
Types of PokéMitzvahs Your Child Will Do:
Chores: (My Pokémensch game encourages children to help out around the house!)
“Permanent Press Pokémensch” pops up suddenly when they do their own laundry. He’s wrinkle free, rainbow on one side and colorless on the other, reminding them to separate the whites from brights.
“Puffy Pillow Pokémensch” can be located under their sheets for when they make their bed. I gotta admit he looks a bit militant and you can even bounce a quarter off of him.
If they should accidentally wander within even a hundred yard radius of the dishwasher, “Cascade Pokémensch” magically materializes, beckoning them to unload spotless drinking glasses and shiny plates with his crystal clear appearance.
A “PokéPooch” will manifest whenever they remember to walk that family dog they promised that you’d never have to take care of. But first they must wipe the dust off his leash and actually make it out the front door.
Errands: (They’ll be begging to accompany you around the city now!)
Getting your kids to the doctor and the dentist for check-ups has never been easier now that I designed the “Pediatrician Pokémensch” and the “Plaque Pokémensch.” (Don’t be dense — of course one wears a stethoscope and the other holds a toothbrush!)
“Pride and Prejudice Pokémensch” will tempt your children into a library so they will (gasp) read a book.
“Payless Pokémensch” will have your child agreeing to shop in their reasonably priced store for shoes rather than needing the popular $$ Vans or Sketchers.
“Patriarch PopPop Pokémensch” guarantees that going to grandpa’s (and grandma’s!) house will never be seen as boring. A little guy wearing dentures, using a walker and Metamucil will offer bonus points for every visit.
Respecting Religion (Elevating your children’s spirituality from a Pikachu to a PikaJew!)
“Prayers/Psalms/Parsha Pokémensch” will ensure your kid is drawn into a synagogue on many occasions other than his Bar Mitzvah.
And of course “Promised Land Pokémensch” will entice your older teen to sign up for birthright and go tour Israel.
Note: If you decide to borrow my Pokémensch invention, feel free to omit the annoying little accent mark over the “e” that drove me “Pokémashuggah” trying to figure out how to type on my keyboard. And you’re welcome!
Stephanie D. Lewis is a regular contributor to the Comedy section on The Huffington Post. She also writes a humor blog, “Once Upon Your Prime” and you can follow her @MissMenopause on twitter.