Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Your First Pokémon

It's Valentine's Day today, and more importantly, the birthday of the late, great Steve McNair, and as such, today is too important to merely dismiss with little more than a eulogy for a typewriter.

So, today, we shall reminisce about one of our first true loves. ...Do you remember your first Pokémon?

Bulbasaur was my first Pokémon. It did not get past the first day, unfortunately. I was trying to formulate a clever nickname for it, and clumsily typed in Bulba(PKMN) by accident. Somehow, my thumb then landed upon the start button, and though by all accounts it sounds almost purposeful, I really did not intend to have a Bulbasaur named Bulba(PKMN).

...So I restarted my game. Bulba(PKMN) was no more.

The second Bulbasaur, who I wisely decided to leave unnamed, fared much better. It schooled Gary's Charmander with ease, not even needing assistance from the Potion that I apparently kept in my computer.

And so, me and my Bulbasaur travelled the land. All the while, we seeked other mighty Pokémon to join our six-man posse. And of course, this was back before we all knew about which Pokémon were good, and which were crappy. Toting a Rattata, Pidgey and Caterpie, I was most definitely not an impressive sight to see. I was one of the sad, pitiful fools who learnt the hard way that a wild Metapod knows only how to Harden. What a god-forsaken battle that was, I can scarcely remember who won (oh yeah, not me).

Later, I finally saw fit to name my newly-evolved Venusaur. As the harbinger of all things mighty and grassy, I dubbed that warty mofo Leaves.

Having somehow managed to defeat all eight Gym Leaders, Leaves and I had finally hit the plateau. Quite literally. For we were at the Indigo Plateau. Though not entirely literally, because then we would have actually physically hit the plateau, and that would surely have been pointless.

Armed with a tactfully woeful and simply foolish team, Leaves and I would tackle the Elite Four. Articuno and Zapdos were crucial that day. Leaves held its own in the fray. Vulpix did absolutely nothing, but it looked very pretty. Historic records are hard to find of those epic battles, because a fateful encounter with a MISSINGNO. led to a virus in the Pokémon League computer. Or maybe it was hacked. I can't be sure.

The point is, I would become champion. And, like any great champion, my reign would be surrounded with a great deal of controversy. I burst into the delicate ecosystem of the Cerulean Cave, and killed various rare fauna before snaring the mutated lab creation Mewtwo within the experimental Master Ball.

I had previously considered catching a Weedle in this ball, but cooler heads prevailed. To the victor go the spoils!

But I wanted more. I wanted to be the most powerful trainer in the land, but I didn't want to work for it. I would seek out that same MISSINGNO. and, through some sort of wicked magic I can't decipher, battling it multiplied the seventh item I had been carrying by the hundreds. It took two attempts to get this right, because the first time I had a bicycle there. It was a really awkward moment when hundreds of bicycles shot from out of my pants. Good thing Cinnabar Island only has a population of about eight, otherwise people might have started asking questions.

So now, I had a jackpot of Rare Candies. Their properties caused Pokémon growth to accelerate, and as their name implied, they were harder to find than the McDonald's Lowly Worm. However, I had outsmarted the system. In my possession, they were practically Common Candy. I force-fed Leaves the lollies by the shovel-load, and now, the Level 100 Venusaur was the pride of Canada, worthy of joining the greats.

The next few years would pass without incident, until I made a visit to Goldenrod City in Johto. I left Leaves at the daycare like a responsible parent while I played the slots at the Game Corner, and when I returned, I made a shocking discovery.

Leaves was a broad. And she had been knocked up by an Ampharos.

I of course sued the daycare for negligence, and after months that seemed like merely 5355 steps, Leaves had given birth to two sons; Leaves II and Shrubs. At least something good came out of such a dark encounter. To this day, however, I've never trusted a sheep, for fear that it'll sprout a ruby orb from its tail, shed its fur, and make love to my plants. Note, I said PLANTS. With an 'L'.

Leaves has since retired, and recently celebrated her thirteenth birthday. She watches as these fancy new creatures come and go, and as each bright-eyed trainer receives their very own first Pokémon from a professor named after a tree. These are the golden years, she thinks, and she wouldn't have it any other way.

Every now and then, she gathers with her old friends, and reminisces over the good old days, and their glorious reign as supplement-taking behemoths. The Ninetales, formerly the dainty Vulpix, still a looker at this ripe old age. The Dragonite, who destroyed all in his path, and has the history of arrests to prove it. All except the Alakazam, who was a know-it-all and a prick. Plus, Leaves could hardly ever understand a word he said.

...Do you remember your first Pokémon?

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