Yes, there I was in riding in a car with boys, all of us on our way to a late night performance of an obscure rock band at a small out-of-the-way music venue in a misbegotten but vaguely hip neighborhood of the big city where I was living at the time.

It felt familiar.  It felt like many a night I'd spent before eager with anticipation for the music, the fellowship, the likely accompanying drug experience, and whatever else I hoped might lie ahead, but which usually didn't.

There was only one difference.

It was last year, and it was me driving a car of five 17-18 year old boys, one of whom was my son Brandon, to a concert in a slightly off downtown neighborhood of Philadelphia.

"Thank you for the ride, Mr. Block," said each one of guys as they in turn climbed into the car.

I never wanted to be a "Mr. Block" at any juncture in my life, but now it seemed odd to be anything other.  "Call me Perry" would have sounded as forced and phony under the circumstances as "gather round, dudes, and let me tell you about the Sixties!"

"So why do I have to drive?"  I'd asked Brandon while being pressed into emergency transportation service earlier in the evening. "What about Tim's dad?"

"Tim's dad works a day job," he answered.

"Oh. So I've been selected based on diminished job status and perceived fecklessness?"

"No, Dad. Just availability."

The truth is I didn't really mind.  But once the car was loaded with millennials and we were on our way, I realized I'd been thrust into a situation in which I had a difficult choice to make.

Do I join in the guys' conversation? Brandon and his friends were talking school/college, majors, summer jobs, friends, music, their hopes and dreams and aspirations. There were a few opportunities to offer an opinion, a dollop of alleged wisdom, and even a cross generational joke or two.

But how would they respond? Would they think...

"That was funny! I like Mr. Block. He's a cool guy, unlike my dad with his knock-knock jokes!"

or would they think...

"What is Mr. Block jabbering about?! Who's Jack Benny? Doesn't he realize he's here only as a means to an end?"

Or perhaps I should just keep silent, pretend I'm not listening, focus on the driving.  In which case, would they think...

"Mr. Block really has it together! Stays out of our way, unlike my mom always boring us about the time she rode in an elevator with David Crosby!"

or would they think...

"God, Mr. Block has nothing to say about anything.   Poor Brandon, his dad's a moron!"

"What do your friends prefer?" I asked Brandon as he exited the car at the club. "That I join in the conversation or keep it to myself?"

"Dad, you're over thinking it. Do what comes naturally."

"Well, tell me what it is that comes naturally!"

I chose to join in judiciously on the way home.  It seemed to play well. As I dropped each one of the guys off, "Thank you for the ride, Mr. Block" reverberated throughout the car.

Riding in cars with boys --- yep, I wish I could be one of the boys again. The gap between me and Brandon and his friends seems as wide as the gap between the Sixties and the Tweenies, or whatever this current era is called.

But it's the stage of life I'm at, and I'm going to relish it. Too bad for Tim's dad, who works a day job.

Perry Block is a writer, humorist, and human resources professional who lives in Havertown PA, just outside of Philadelphia.

In his humor blog , Perry Block: Nouveau Old, Formerly Cute (, Perry chronicles the world through the eyes of one Baby Boomer warily poised on the cusp of an age he thought was exclusively reserved for people's parents. It also features parody, satire, and anything else you want.

You can also find Perry on Twitter at @PerryBlock, Facebook, Google+, and whatever other internet sites he’s able to find an “Idiot’s Guide to.”