My pondering began several weeks ago when I noticed adult men placing an American flag in my front yard to highlight the July 4 holiday. Noting that the flag set-up was part of a scout fundraiser, I asked one of the leaders where he had misplaced his Boy Scouts.
“Oh, we can’t get them out of bed,” he said. “Young men stay up late this day and age, so we – the old men – have to haul out the flags.”
“Seems like their parents should invest in an alarm clock,” I mused.
“That doesn’t seem to do any good,” he laughed. “Have a nice morning.”
The following day I asked a business colleague who has long been active in scouting.
“We dropped the flag fundraiser three or four years ago,” he said. “Teens play video games until the early morning, and we couldn’t get enough of them to wake up. I mean school teachers claim they have a hard enough time getting teens to class for first period, let alone wake them up for a scout activity. Technology wins!”
Since then I have had similar conversations with parents and employers, all experiencing the same difficulty. It appears that 7 a.m. to a teenager is as welcome as an eight-track tape player.
Then it came to me. If you can’t beat late-night video games, kidnap the technology and use it for the public good.
This past week, for instance, we have been assaulted by roaming teens, pre-teens, and Millennials searching on their cell phones for Pokemon characters. The virtual cartoons are seen in public parks, private bathrooms, museums, and cornfields.
So here is my solution: Mandate that the tech geniuses behind the Pokemon app create a program that only works between the hours of 5:30 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. Create a virtual world in which the Pokemon hunter will receive extra points for taking a shower and putting on real clothing before beginning his or her search. During fall-winter-spring, increase points for finding Pokemon in a first period English or geometry class.
We would all be amazed. Young men and women would soon get into the habit of seeing a sunrise. Denny’s would no longer have difficulty hiring breakfast cooks. Teachers would actually see wide-eyed students not wearing pajamas.
And I could actually see a flesh and blood scout being accountable for his commitment to place a flag in front of my house.
The opinions stated in this column are those of the author and not of necessarily those of the ownership or management of this newspaper.