It was the most important question of every 10-year-old’s life: Bulbasaur, Squirtle, or Charmander? And more than it would determine odds at achieving one’s goal of becoming the world’s greatest Pokémon master, the Pokémon that you chose to start your journey with whispered certainly of your destiny IRL.
This is what your Pokémon says about you.
I choose you, Bulbasaur!
When you told your mother that you wanted to be an actor, she probably said something like “That’s great, honey! Now pick a backup plan.” She was talking about Bulbasaur.
Bulbasaur is the safest possible Pokémon that you can pick. A grass type, he holds advantages over the first two gym leaders who you’ll face in the Pokémon universe, and he grows up a little more quickly than Squirtle or Charmander. Bulbasaur is ‘good form.’ Bulbasaur, the Hufflepuff of Pokémon, is doing your homework and planning for retirement.
If Bulbasaur is the Pokémon for you, you most likely went to or are going to a good state school for econ or history. You work out a few times a week, and you eat mostly healthy but have a root beer float every once in a while because #YOLO. You love TED talks. “Variety is the spice of life” is a phrase you’ve used more than once in earnest. You wear North Face, play Frisbee, and have been intellectually moved by one or more books by Malcolm Gladwell. You check your privilege every morning, and your favorite breed of dog is most definitely the Golden Retriever, though you’ve talked about adopting a Greyhound (you won’t). Today, you’re well on your way to marriage and kids and a Prius.
There’s a very real chance that you’re a CPA.
I choose you, Squirtle!
Squirtle is a little bit edge, and so are you.
This is a turtle that will get into some shit with you. Look at that grin. Sure, he’s a water type, and so he has a natural advantage over the first gym leader you’ll face. As far as gaming is concerned, this is not an unwise choice. But more importantly than battling ability, this is a Pokémon that will help you egg the gym leader’s house after you lose. This is a Pokémon that will journey with you to Pokémon League and help you fight the Elite Four, sure, yeah, whatever, but he’s also got a 40 of malt liquor in his shell and a pack of Lucky Strikes that he is more than willing to share with you if you’d rather just get obliterated. And maybe you do! After all, you’re the sort of kid who picked a Squirtle.
If Squirtle is the Pokémon for you, you might be tatted up. But you are definitely into tattoos on other people: your significant other, your barista, your rock star of choice. And while we’re on the topic of music, let’s be honest, it’s Saves the Day, all day, every day, for the rest of the days that exist. That emo stuff is just your total A+ jam. Maybe you’re afraid to admit it. Maybe you’re not. But New Found Glory MOVED you. You are probably a skater, a surfer, or a snowboarder. In high school, you were the kid who smoked weed beneath the bleachers at the pep rally. In college, if you bothered to go, you worked at the coffee shop and hated everyone.
Voted most likely to be that white person with dreadlocks, travel through Europe, group marry a German proto-punk band, and get an STD, you might be a skydiving instructor or a nurse in a psych ward.
Dead by 27? It’s possible, but not a single one of your idols made it to 28.
Let’s get into this thing called ‘life,’ okay?
I choose you, Charmander!
The most important thing about Charmander is there is absolutely no logical reason to choose Charmander. He evolves slowly, he has major weaknesses against the first two gym leaders, and look how effing happy he is. Does this look like a killer to you? No, it’s a goddamn baby Puff the Magic Dragon.
But: ADORABLE LIZARD WITH A FIRE TAIL THAT TURNS INTO A DRAGON, MAYBE, ONE DAY, OMG.
If Charmander is the Pokémon for you, you’re a dreamer. You’re a journaler. You see the world behind the world, and your Instagram game is unmatched. Undistracted by the details of that which is, your concerns hold chiefly with the nature of that which could be.
If Charmander is the Pokémon for you, you’ve probably experimented with a weird religion or two. Were you a teenaged Wiccan? Does Scientology seem not that strange to you? College Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism? Even Mormons get their own planet when they die. Are you LDS-curious? Or did you go all the way and join a legitimate cult? (Right on!). You love the idea of intentional community, and don’t understand why men and women are expected to marry young, if at all, and raise children alone. “It takes a village,” you know, and something something energy of the universe connects us all something something Gaia, Womyn, Earth force.
If you have a job at all, you’re an artist, a yoga instructor, or that dreamy looking barista in the tie-dye shirt on Noe and 18th (oh heyyy). Everyone should “chill,” in your opinion, and look at the way the thin light catches backs of leaves in the willow tree at dusk — oh! Ah! You breathe in the cool Pacific air, and you laugh. What were you saying again?
It is statically near impossible that you ever won the game of Pokémon without cheat codes on account of you became distracted by the side quest — catch one of every type of Pokémon — or the premise — “are these Pokémon not technically… slaves?”
But the world is a more beautiful place to you, and, anyway, life’s not a game. Life is life.
You smile, you curl up with your tiny fire lizard on the couch, and you dream about the world beyond the world beyond the world.
“Gotta catch ‘em all,” you whisper. “Gotta catch ‘em all.”