When it comes to popular culture, my younger son and I don't share much in common.
After all, he's 14 and I'm 62.
I'm a child of the 1960s. Back in the day, my entertainment came from black-and-white TV shows, comic books and transistor radios.
In the sixth grade, we listened to the World Series at school on little, pocket-size AM radios. Later, we would go home and watch black-and-white reruns of "Gilligan's Island," which was in syndication for most of my preteen years.
In between, we would read comic books. My favorite was "Archie," and his gang at Riverdale High, with occasional forays into the "Fantastic Four" and "Batman."
There was even an Archies band. When I was 12, I thought the song "Sugar, Sugar" was a pop masterpiece. Sing it with me, baby boomers: "Sugar ah, honey, honey. You are my candy girl " As a 12-year-old in 1970, I'm locked in a time warp with the Archies, the Osmonds and the Jackson 5.
Our younger son, who was born in 2006, is a child of YouTube and Xbox. As far as I know, he has never even held a comic book. One time, I made him watch "The Andy Griffith Show" and "Gilligan's Island" back to back for kicks. Mine, not his.
Once in a blue moon, there is a tear in the space-time continuum, and our generations overlap for an instant. That's the only way I can account for the following conversation, which took place one night last month when I picked him up at his best friend's house.
(For context, he was wearing a blue bucket hat, one of those canvas caps with a 360-degree floppy brim.)
"How was your night?" he said as we began the 2-mile drive home at 9 p.m.
"Fine," I said. "Did you have a good time at your friend's house?"
"Yes," he said. "I got a lot of compliments on my hat. People said I looked like Gilligan."
"Do you even know who Gilligan is?" I asked.
"Yes, you and me watched 'Gilligan's Island' that time, remember?" he said.
"Oh, yeah," I said. "Did I ever tell you I interviewed Gilligan once."
"No," he said. "I wish I had known that; I would have told them. Did you interview anybody else famous?"
"Not as famous as Gilligan," I said. "Ronald Reagan; John Glenn, the first man to orbit the Earth; and Usher are some others."
"Oh," he said.
"Did you get to see your friend's new dog. What's its name?"
"Yes. He's so cute. His name is Archie," my son said. "Can I have a new dog if I pay for it?"
"Hmm," I said, changing the subject. "The only Archie I know is from a comic book."
"Oh," he said "Well, this Archie is from a show on Netflix called 'Riverdale.' I've started watching it some."
"Wait a minute," I said. "Is there a character on that show named Jughead?"
"Yeah, Jughead Jones," my son said.
"What!" I said, suddenly feeling disoriented. "Is there a Betty, too?"
"Yes, and a Veronica," he said.
No way, I thought. Small world.
Here I sat with a 14-year-old in 2021, and we are talking about "Gilligan's Island" and Jughead Jones. How can this be?
And just like that, 2021 and 1970 passed like ships in the night.
Must be a full moon, I thought.
I lifted the sun visor, which was still down from earlier in the day, and there it was. Right there. A full moon as big as a searchlight.
Email Mark Kennedy at firstname.lastname@example.org.