Street cred

(Photo by Maurizio Pesce)

My son’s gaming friends opened their virtual arms to me last night. Maybe it had to do with the fact that I’ve driven them around and fed them after school and for sleepovers, back when those used to happen, for a long time now.

I couldn’t sleep. My other work worlds have been involving odd challenges that had kept me up, listening to varmints chewing in the walls.

Milo was surprised to see me at his door after midnight. He tried teaching me the nuances of Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty and Fortnite. I’d played the first two, and thought their backgrounds fun, but the violence and stress not so much so.


I loved the “skins” one could wear in Fortnite, sort of like full-body masks where I could become a svelte-bodied female with a panda head carrying a broadsword and an Uzi. But I kept getting killed. Could we continue streaming the Wu Tang origins story instead?

“I can’t believe we’re up at 1:30,” the teen marveled as we shared cookies and milk. Creativity can rise from the battle lines between life’s challenges and a calling. “Are you sure you’re okay? I don’t need to wake Mommy, do I?”

We step outside so we can look up at the stars. They’re bright. The moon’s wearing a subtle grin. Milo says it looks like an emoji.

Like the ancients, we like to look for metaphors, to glimpse patterns behind the chaos. What’s above us has been called The Firmament, I tell him.

We hear something screech in the distance, maybe the sound of a faraway siren.

We’re both ready for bed now.

He’s pleased. “Street cred, dad,” Milo says. “You can call that street cred.”