Reality, you've got to admit, is pretty boring. Before the Pokemon Go craze came along and filled the drab natural world with cute little monsters that could be captured by smartphone, there was virtually no good reason for going outside, stumbling across old buildings with zero entertainment value and risking interaction with real people, in the flesh.
But now, at last, in the silly-season Summer of Go, there's a whole, new augmented reality out there that's even better than the view from your living-room console, if you can stomach fresh air. Just download the Pokemon Go app, and let your smartphone GPS lead you to formerly dreary local landmarks where the nostalgic cartoon monsters love to lurk, waiting to be collected.
All those thousands of steps in which you and your smartphone app take so much quiet pride as you move through this slight disappointment called life are no longer an end in themselves but a means to something even better – a true journey of Pikachu-nabbing discovery in which you see a formerly dull planet through newly invigorated eyes.
It's like Fitbit but with added fun, the goofiness of gaming elevated to some nebulously meaningful quest, a structured exercise in mindfulness that makes you pay attention to stuff you'd never got around to noticing before (possibly because you were too busy playing with your phone), like other people, trees and even the Holocaust.
Yes, it's true. Pokemon Go is so potent an instrument of socialization that it's found its way into such traditionally non-fun places as Auschwitz, the Holocaust Museum in Washington and the National War Memorial in St. John's. Oh joy.
It's hard to remember that far-off time, just a few days ago, when people weren't able to combine a solemn occasion of remembrance with the good-natured fun of catching a Krabby. Now, thanks to Pokemon Go, a journey to commemorate the tragedies of history can be turned into an opportunity to grab prizes. Ah, progress.
Then again, maybe history does have something to teach us: Reality isn't meant to be easy and augmented and adorned with friendly cartoon creatures. Pack away Pokemon, look up from your phones and begin to see the wonder of what really is.