British Columbia

Digital-age Mr. McGregor #grumpyoldman chases Pokemon from garden

James Roy's message to Pokemon Go enthusiasts who threatening to trample his kale is clear: Get a life and stay out of my yard.

'I had no idea what a Pokemon is. I still don’t.'

It turns out the #grumpyoldman whose Pokemon Go rant sign went viral, is not so old or grumpy. (James Roy)

James Roy's message to Pokemon Go enthusiasts who keep trampling his kale is clear: "Get a life and stay out of my yard."

The avid gardener earned fame after posting a note on the edge of his Commercial Drive yard in East Vancouver, B.C., — like some kind of Mr McGregor for the digital age. 

He got frustrated after dozens of people — usually 20-year-old men — kept showing up at his garden gate hunting for something. At first, he thought they'd lost a cat.

"I had no clue. I was like there is no cat here. I thought they were looking for their cat that was lost," said Roy, 38, who is not old at all, despite fake pictures of him circulating on social media.

His yard was somehow tagged as a Pokemon gym, so it kept attracting players, like aphids.

Wednesday night after a group begged him to open the garden gate when he was putting out the garbage he lost patience.

To protect the garden that furnishes greens to his complex he made up  a sign and put it on the edge of his property to keep people out.

"These are not four or five sure-footed 12-year-olds. These are big stomping old men that haven't really been outside from their mother's basement in the last 10 years until the internet gave them permission," said Roy who has more patience for leaf blight.

Who is this man? James Roy was depicted like this in media after posting a sign to keep Pokemon Goers out of his yard but confirms this is not him for another few years. (Shutterstock)

"We don't want people traipsing all over our garden in the middle of the night chasing these things. People eat off this garden," he said.

The smart-mouthed sign he whipped up to fend off Pokemon Go enthusiasts went viral.

He woke up to a call from friends in eastern Canada shocked he was #1 on Reddit.

So then he had to figure out — what's Reddit?

He got quite an education after logging in. 

He was shocked by the reaction to his joke.

"They were saying I hated autistic kids because some doctors were recommending this for therapy. And because I said have a beer at the pub, I'm now pro-alcoholism?"

A lot of the Pokémon characters like to hang out near churches and cultural institutions. This Eevee was waiting at the St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Outremont. (Elysha Enos/CBC)

His sign suggests that Pokemon chasers and the entire Pokemon hunt is "by far the stupidest thing I have ever seen," beating everything from short-lived trends like hammer pants to Crystal Pepsi.

"I just wanted people out of my garden. It's gated and everything and we grow veggies for the whole building. .[people] stepping into my yard and trampling all over all of my kale. The garden feeds [people]."

Pokemon Go online craze has gamers walking around parks on a virtual hunt. (Laura DaSilva/CBC)

Roy said he still remains shocked that Ninetendo made a game that encourages people to trespass and warns it may end up in legal battles.

Already teen Pokemon players have been shot at in Florida by a property owner mistaking them for thieves. In another case two men fell off a cliff playing the game.

Roy says he's not sure the makers really thought this through, and they seem to "plunk" the Pokemon monsters down in the most inconvenient places 

Other people have gotten angry at Pokemon trespassers, and Roy wants it clear he'd never react if it was just children.

"This is not some old man taking Halloween candy away from kids. These are grown men and they were all men. I've heard of cases where people were telling [gamers] to f-off and stuff I just put up a note. Which is much more Canadian?"

With files from Chad Pawson


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