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Davis, California

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

I love Tamagotchi!

Sometimes, it’s helpful to go back to the things you once loved, just to see how they’re doing. A couple weeks ago, I found myself browsing the Internet in search of Tamagotchis, which I had been mildly obsessed with in the fourth grade.

I found myself at this Tamagotchi fansite, which led to the discovery of a very odd Internet locale: the Tamagotchi Graveyard.

As the name suggests, this is a place for people to put their virtual pets to rest and mourn for them. Bizarrely enough, all these entries were recent (as in there were entries posted the very day I checked the website) and there were over 2,000 of them.

A typical entry reads something like this: “I forgot to put you on pause the whole evening and when I went to school. Then you weren’t there. You were a good Tamagotchi. You almost married Luke the Tamagotchi, your best friend. Now he is nine years old and misses you but now he has to marry a new Tama named Mya.”

What the hell? The last time I checked, I had no idea that Tamgotchis could a) get married, b) have offspring, or c) play such a big role in a person’s life. I thought they were just these little pixels that moved around and were really cool to sneak into class in the fourth grade.

Anyways, I started going through all the entries and reading them aloud as dramatic monologues for several hours. Though this may seem like the biggest waste of time ever (not to mention a terribly pathetic method of procrastination), I still maintain that this was vastly entertaining. Not only had people written epitaphs that were practically essays, there were also heartfelt poems written for their Tamagotchis.

One such poem started with the incredibly poignant line: “Lilies are yellow, roses are blue. They really aren’t, but I made them that way… for you.”

How could you not love this shit?

That’s the thing I love about the Internet – you never really have to leave anything behind. Wondering whatever happened to Furby? Just type it into Google. Those second cousins twice-removed that now live somewhere in a remote province of Canada? E-mail them through the family Listserv. That kid you were (maybe, just maybe) a tiny bit obsessed with in high school? Plug his name into Facebook. It’s almost too easy.

These days, I find myself wasting an absurd amount of the time on the Internet when I should be doing real work. There’s just something so tempting about being able to plug in anything from your past just to see what’s going on with it.

Another thing I like to look back on: old television shows. Does anyone else remember the glory that was Power Rangers? Over spring break, I rediscovered my collection of trading cards and was reminded by my mother that I once owned Power Ranger underpants and would run around pretending to be the Pink Ranger. Good times.

But when all is said and done, sometimes it’s not enough to just look back, smile nostalgically and leave things behind. This past weekend, I received a drunken phone call from someone who was a good friend in high school. I was surprised, mostly because a) we didn’t keep in contact as much as we should’ve, b) when I knew him, he was a former altar boy who at one point may have said that he wouldn’t drink until he was legal, and c) the first two things that he said were, “I tried to cook chicken last night” and “Teresa, you’re amazing” (in that very order).

And I realized as I paced around on the phone and laughed at his incoherent ramblings that occasionally, the things you once cared about do reappear in your life, and maybe you’re just supposed to step aside and clear out a little space them. Maybe you’re supposed to say, “Hey. Remember me? Let’s hang out again and forget the time I threw a screwdriver at your head.”

If I were to write a letter to my Tamagotchi right now, it would read something like this: Dear Unnamed Tamagotchi – I’m sorry I left you on so I could see how long it would take you to die in a pile of poop. Let’s start over again? With love, Teresa.

 

TERESA PHAM desperately wants a Tamagotchi to string around her neck and wear to class. If anyone has one, please e-mail her at terpham@ucdavis.edu. XXX

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