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Old People Smell
by Simon Geddes
10/21/13
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Old People Smell

I work in large car sales and service company near the city and this morning I heard a loud sorrowful cry from a young mechanic emanating from the service area. “Arhhh, this car smells like old people!” almost pleading for release.

Now I should first mention the company I work for is a Volvo dealership. Frankly I would have thought that all Volvos roll off the factory floor incumbent with Old People Smell. I know Volvo have attempted to appeal to the younger market by releasing numerous images of Volvos with canoes strapped to their rooves but really, does a motorised wheel chair with a canoe strapped to the back of it scream “Youth” to you?

Anyhow, this young man’s cry started to play on my mind. I’m 43 and I’m starting to wonder when I might begin to smell like Old People. Does it gradually creep in like the smell of mothballs into a new sports coat? Or do you just wake up one morning with it wrapped around your neck like grandma’s old crocheted shawl that never leaves her shoulders come rain or shine?

Will I just receive a letter in the mail one birthday saying “As per law, you have now reached the age at which you are required to change from Brut 33 to Old Spice. Ensure this conversion is complete on or by the due date. Yours sincerely, The Department of Geriatric Odours.”

Or is it just the result of an ailing mind that at some point we start to forget to bath regularly? My mind’s fine; I remember where I live, what I had for breakfast, I even remember what size those things on my feet are. You know, the thingies with the lases.

Is it the result of a hormonal change: a pheromone that is meant to subliminally signal young people to give up their seat on public transport? If so I see no evidence of it actually working. Perhaps the genome containing the genetic code for this pheromone’s receptors has decayed off the DNA sequence of this latest generation. Perhaps this hormone is also the cause for old ladies hair turning purple.

Further, will I know when I smell like Old People, or will it take overhearing the innocent observation of a small child to awaken me to this transition. “Mum, why does Grandpa smell funny?” How many times will I have my house treated for mould infestation before I finally realise it’s me?

Who would have known that a young man’s cry of desperation could burden me so?


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