QB, QB! Res me! Wait, I’m med-ing!
There are these kids in California and Colorado who play Fortnite regularly with Sean, they are between 13-14. They formed a Fortnite Clan. I am frequently laughing out loud in the background in response to their antics, so they address me as Ms. BearSean (because Sean’s gamer tag is cubbiebearsean) and they sometimes compete to make me laugh. I feel like a favorite middle school teacher. They call Sean Q-B as a twist on Cubbie. He holds his own well with them, so even though he’s younger, they frequently invite him to play.
They call each other by their gamer tags, though we know most of their real names. But, gamer tags, it is. If this generation starts giving their babies weird monikers the way some people named babies in the 1980s, we’ll know why.
Today, these kids from California didn’t have school due to smoke from the fires. They are all camping out in one of the kid’s basement with several computers and TVs connected and are planning to marathon-play on Sean’s Minecraft Realm, after warming up with Fortnite. Minecraft is nostalgia for the lot of them, including Sean.
They talk on Discord (a platform like Skype, but for gamers) and have a virtual party. They tease Sean about being homeschooled and about being 11, and he dishes back to them without missing a beat. It gets loud. Who am I fooling, it is always loud.
They share memes. I’m like a fly on the wall, getting first-hand exposure to the pulse of these kids and their interests, angst, and endless humor. Their sense of humor is off the charts. They’re sharp, they have to be to perform well. Sean tells me that maybe I drank beer for the first time when I was only 13 because there was nothing fun to do in 1978.
They self-deprecate. Insult each other. Rarely, they talk about girls. They joke and exaggerate and include wise crack references to popular culture. Mostly, they are creating fun. Once in a while their voices crack. Sometimes they rage. Sometimes they are crabby. They expose society’s stupidity and fear-based over-protection with their jokes. Same thing with society’s overly sensitive programming. They meme political correctness, exposing its inherent fault line. They are like that one person you want around in the event of an emergency (hint, I am not that person because I panic when I see a spider). They are totally on their game, but they are spinning their wheels because of adult control. Their minds are already way beyond the broken record admonishment of adults.
Sometimes, they are on while admitting they had to sneak due to being grounded. I chuckle at their inventiveness. Sean has never been grounded. It makes absolutely no sense to me because punishment does not reinforce intrinsic values. I’d want these kids in charge during the Zombie Apocalypse.
Occasionally, they say they wish I would adopt them. I wish their parents understood how restrictions and punishment create chasms of disconnection.
Sean is using hair cream to style back his bangs. He brought a shirt over to me in Shopko and asked if we could get it, said it’s OK if we can’t. He told me how much it was on sale, and he grabbed the right size. How could I say no after that effort? Then, he saw a jacket he likes. Showed me how it was 50% off (like the shirt). Boom. Kid scored. He tells me every time he wears the shirt that he is so glad he got the shirt. I tell him I am proud of his decisiveness and choices.
Checks his hair in the mirror. Asks if his hair is OK.
Sean waits patiently all day to eat because we are going to get our favorite, Papa Bino’s. He eats pumpkin pie for breakfast, gummy bears, and waits. We can do this because we only have ourselves to answer to. He turns down intermediate food (filler food in the pantry) to hold out for the good stuff.
We run out to get some more cold meds for me while the snow arrives. He stays in the car because Imagine Dragons is on the radio. Tells me Imagine Dragons and Fallout Boys are dangerously similar. One of his first favorite songs was Centuries by Fallout Boys. I agree that they are very similar.
He tells me, Thanks for the food Mom, I love you.