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Myth Busting: Setting the Record Straight on Senior Citizens

In support of the upcoming “International Day of the Older Person” I would like to address some of the common misconceptions, complaints and cruel stereotypes about senior citizens that are so commonly perpetuated by damned young people.

Myth #1: “Old People are Senile”

Young people seem to fancy the notion that all old folks are doddering morons who have checked their gray matter at the front counter of a retirement home and spend their days wandering around in nightgowns applying lipstick to their cheeks and calling out for family pets that died forty years ago.

True, young people have driven a good number of us out of our damned minds but this senility thing is largely overstated. Part of me suspects that young people may in fact just be jealous that our mental degeneration has a clinical name while as theirs just falls under the broader category of “blatant stupidity.”

And honestly, which is a better indication of an unhealthy mind: occasionally misplacing your car keys and forgetting the mailman’s first name or spending $400 on a pair of sneakers and adorning your ass cheek with a tattoo of the cast of Futurama?

I’m not saying that seniors don’t have their challenges but for the most part the old folks I know are sound as a bell, bright as new pin and true as the day is long.

Myth #2: “Old People Smell Funny”

I have to say that my initial reaction whenever hearing this comment is to wonder why the hell young people are so interested in smelling old folks to begin with. When I was a lad my nose was pushed too close to the grindstone to start sniffing around the pant legs of senior citizens. Besides, I was under the impression that young people nowadays only used their noses when turning them up in the face of work, stabbing them with jewellery or snorting cannabis.

Regardless, I’m pleased to learn they still have olfactory senses – I had assumed that stumbling around inside their small but noxious clouds of Axe body wash and Pee Diddly cologne would have stripped their nasal passages raw and destroyed their ability to detect the aroma of anything less pungent than burning human flesh or Katy Perry’s latest single.

The old men I know smell like a decent combination of hard work, wool sweaters, respectability and brylcreem. It’s no wonder to me that young people find it damned offensive.

Myth #3: “Old People are Slow”

Granted, years of fighting communism, holding jobs and shouldering responsibility may have left us a little bit sluggish now and again but every time a young person starts impatiently tapping his foot while I’m counting my change at the Piggly Wiggly checkout I’m left asking myself “why the hell are they in such a hurry?” It’s not like any of them have jobs or responsibilities beyond updating their facebook status every time a pimple erupts or something LoL happens to them. 

Are their skateboards double parked? Heroin congealing on the spoon at home?  An urgent need to go loiter elsewhere?  It seems to me that young people have two speeds – pronounced inertia and manic pointlessness. And neither seem at all productive.

If you ask me, old people move at a respectable, purposeful pace. It may take me 10 minutes to cross the road but at least I have a reason to get to the other side.

I trust this clears matters up.

52 Comments leave one →
  1. 12:22 am

    I believe the funny smell that a lot of them are referring to is soap, not the fancy, flowery, mask your stench stuff that has recently become so popular, but the honest to goodness if you leave it on too long it will remove a layer of skin stuff that my parents use. Cleanliness is no longer high on the list of priorities apparently.

    • 12:47 am

      Many thanks Cheryl,

      I suspect you’re right. We old men may not bathe ourselves in body mists and cheap cologne but I like to believe that if you catch of whiff of me you’ll be able to walk away without feeling you just visited the trenches of WWI during a mustard gas attack. That stuff they slather all over themselves is a damned abomination.

      Young people have a lot of nerve pointing fingers. I smell of bar soap and digestive biscuits with (on occasion) a hint of rye thrown in for good measure.

      All the best and thanks for visiting.

      Don

  2. 12:32 am

    Let’s hear it for the love of cats.

    • 12:48 am

      Thank you sledpress.

      I’ll start revising next week’s post immediately…

      All the best,

      Don

  3. 1:53 am

    If you’re going to keep disparaging my ass tattoo, I’m going to continue pointing out that the UN shouldn’t really be in the business of handing out new holidays.

    Apparently, it’s supposed to make us more “aware” of aging people, as if we didn’t all celebrate a birthday every year, each consecutive one sporting a larger number.

    Thanks UN (in conjunction with the WHO)! Without you, we’d have no idea who these noxious crazy people are or why they’re holding you up in traffic!

    Oh, and thanks for making it “International.” Without that modifier, we’d still be convinced that only America (God bless us!) cranked out the elderly. (Of course, our “Baby Boom” did kind of give that impression, what with a full 84% of our population simultaneously reaching retirement age, rapidly [for a change] spending our Social Security faster than we can earn it.)

    Still, it was a thought-provoking post, Don. A great read all-around. Thank god(s) you’re still in business.

    • 5:45 pm

      Nice to hear from you CLT.

      My apologies. My ass-tattoo crack wasn’t meant to be personal. I’m sure your Futurama cast portrait is quite tasteful. It’s really all about where you position your Bender.

      I actually share your opinion about the UN and don’t think they should be in the business of dreaming up holidays either. Let’s face it, they have no idea how to throw a damned party. Just look at the theme of this year’s International Day of the Older Person…

      “Older persons and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals”

      I know I won’t be lining up for tickets. Pretty damned dull. I suspect they added the “international” just to get the number of attendees up over 50.

      I had written suggesting they try “Older Persons and Good Old Fashioned Cane Whacking” or “Older Persons and the Achievement of World Domination” or even “Old Persons Party like it’s 1955.” Unfortunately all suggestions went unheeded by Ban-Ki Moon and the rest of party poopers over that UN headquarters.

      Wonderful to hear from you CLT.

      All the best,

      Don

      • poweredbygreyskull permalink
        2:57 pm

        Ban is his surname… if you insist on imposing some hyphenating zeal on the Secretary General (and the world), then please, Ki-moon.

        I’m upset.

  4. 2:38 am

    Don, of course old people are senile! You talk about things that never existed, like movies without color or sound or 3D, phones with long curly wires and funny round dials, and flags with strange numbers of stars. You read books with paper pages that aren’t on a computer screen, pretend the internet didn’t exist when you were a kid, and don’t know who the stars of Jackass are. Old people actually think that you should be honest and you still vote and march in Veteran’s day parades wearing old fashioned clothes with silly badges on them, like senile old Boy Scouts.

    And that, Don, is the problem with young people today. They have no sense of history.

    • 5:52 pm

      Many thanks, bmj2k, for that excellent comment.

      I really have nothing to add other than my thanks – I enjoyed that a great deal. And, as an added bonus, now that I correctly understand the definition of senility, I no longer need to protest its overuse. It fact, it sounds entirely preferable to being “of sound mind.”

      All the best,

      Don

  5. 2:52 am

    They just did a Penn and Teller BS episode this year on the myth of old people smelling. You know what they found….Smelly people smell.

    So if you are an old person who doesn’t bathe often…you probably smell. If you are a young person who doesn’t bathe often…guess what…you smell too.

    • 5:55 pm

      Many thanks Bearman,

      I’ll have to take a look for that. Are these Penn and Teller lads seniors by any chance? They sound like decent sorts.

      Thanks for the tip and all the best,

      Don

  6. 3:00 am

    You’re fantastic. Smells like teen spirit and cheese! In fact, the smell of teen spirit has been replaced by, as you so accurately put it, Axe. Sadly, teens are more likely today to smell like victims of the latest advertising whims. Even so, I enjoy observing them from afar (so as to avoid their noxious Axe clouds). Keep the satire coming old man!

    • Sedate Me permalink
      4:17 pm

      Yeah, people will buy whatever they are sold.

      If some advertiser was able to make it appear cool enough, people would be rubbing cans of dog shit on themselves.

      • 6:00 pm

        …very true. I can see it now.

        “Limited Edition Schnauzer Scat Body Wash – Because Fecal Matters!

      • Emma permalink
        5:54 am

        Okay, I’m a kid but I still found this post absolutely hilarious. And what you said about the media is totally true, pathetic as it is. I enjoy analyzing ads but some of my fellow youth don’t do the same and fall into their evil marketing traps- like drowning themselves in nasty smelling cologne. The boys don’t get that girls think they smell sick. I love this blog, Mr. Mills.

    • 6:01 pm

      Many thanks dbs,

      You’re comment about observing them reminded me of something my wife Aggie used to say. “Good from far but far from good.”

      Thanks for stopping in to visit. Nice to hear from you.

      All the best,

      Don

    • 10:15 pm

      well, in their defense, something has to cover up that miasma of mcdonald’s french fries. too bad axe doesn’t have a ketchup fragrance, because that at least would make some olfactory sense.

  7. paper doll permalink
    3:43 am

    I think the charge of smelling funny might be linked with the moving slow part. If one moves slowly , there is a greater chance of others catching a whiff . Other types in society would feel the yoke of this smelling funny charge if they moved slower too.The answer is : keep moving. Thanks for keeping it real Don!

    • 6:10 pm

      Many thanks paper doll.

      A very interesting exercise in deduction. I hadn’t considered the impact of velocity on smelling funny.

      If I read your comment correctly, we can sum it up as follows..

      (3x-∑)*32 – 12(2∆ x sin) x (56Ω- cos3) = a hell of stink

      All the best and thanks for dropping in.

      Don

      • paper doll permalink
        1:00 am

        Don, Your calculations are correct. 12(2∆ x sin) x…. yup, that’s about the size of it. Thanks!

  8. 8:17 am

    True as the day is long? Aren’t your days getting short Don? Over here in Oz ours are getting longer with summer well and truly on its way. Does that mean our old people are truer than yours?

    • 6:16 pm

      A good question Nurse Myra. A real puzzler in fact…

      On this side of the world our days are certainly getting shorter – but, then again, so are the old people.

      Based on that, I can only assume that the physical shrinking would offset the reduced hours of sunlight and that we would continue to be as true as we were back in July.

      In Australia, however, not only are the old people getting shorter but the days are getting longer. So, I’d have to assume that in this case we could safely say, yes, Australian old people are temporarily truer than North American old people.

      I think this is all supported by the mathematical equation below:

      (3x-∑)*32 – 12(2∆ x sin) x (56Ω- cos3) = the average trueness of an old person

      All the best, Don

      (Of course the easier answer might be to say that our days continue to be 24-hours long…)

  9. 12:27 pm

    Haha, brilliant. Personally I think Old people do a better job of making the most out of each activity. Like counting your money at the checkout counter, hell most young people don’t even count their change because they think they have something t do. Some Old Fashioned Values are Needed!

    • 6:24 pm

      Thank you Murtaza Ali Jafri,

      Funny, I had always assumed the reason they never counted their change was because it wasn’t their money they were spending in the first place and they didn’t care if dad got the correct 75 cents back.

      You’re probably right, though. They’re likely far too busy to be wasting their damned time counting nickels. After all, their are texts to send, skateboards to ride and pizza pops to eat.

      All the best,

      Don

      • Emma permalink
        5:56 am

        Have you noticed the amount of change due pops up on the cashier screen after you pay? I don’t think it would kill them to do a little bit of mental math. My opinion will probably change when I get a job, though.

    • 10:22 pm

      i think most young people don’t count their change, because they don’t know how to count. if you want to see a deer-in-the-headlights look of fear and confusion, hand a teenage cashier 9¢ along with a ten dollar bill when your total comes to $9.84. then watch the little lightbulb go on over their heads when they put all the numbers in the cash register, and it tells the cashier to give you back a quarter. they’ll look at you like you’re some kind of math diety, because you were able to do all that figuring in your head.

      • Emma permalink
        5:57 am

        Aw, come on, not everyone is that stupid.

  10. 1:17 pm

    I’m so glad you brought up “Axe” — one of the worst smells I have ever come across, and headache inducing too. I can not for the life of me understand why young people of the male persuasion feel the need to douse themselves with it. And I’m not even officially an old person yet.

    • Sedate Me permalink
      4:19 pm

      Yeah, but haven’t you seen the ads? It will make girls grab you, bend you over, and have at you from behind. (No kidding.)

    • 7:36 pm

      Thank you healingmagichands,

      I suspect that Sedate Me’s comment sums up the reason young men feel compelled to snap the damned stuff off the shelves. The ad for Axe Twist demonstrates their marketing approach nicely.

      “Girls get bored easily. Axe twist is a fragrance that changes to keep her interested. Experience a fragrance that starts with a fresh burst and then evolves into a sexy scent.”

      Clearly, written by 15 year olds to appeal to 15 year olds. An evolving deodorant? Who says snake oil is a thing of the past?

      All the best,

      Don

      • 5:31 pm

        My education is sorely lacking. I have never actually seen an ad for AXE, although I’m sure if I had had that misfortune I would have immediately had to take an axe to my tv. We are saved from that tripe by the existence of a DVR, and the resolve never to watch “live” tv. EVERYTHING, even football, gets recorded. Even if we only let something get a half hour ahead of us, the waste of life involved in actually watching a commercial is avoided by the simple use of the 30 seconds forward button. And now I thank my stars for saving me from Axe commercials, which I am sure would make my head explode.

        • Sedate Me permalink
          7:09 pm

          I too take all the steps I can to avoid the disease of advertising, but this ad seeped through.

          I shit you not about the AXE ad. In this ad, a loser is at a party (presumably wearing this stuff) he walks past a hot girl who immediately drops what she’s doing, corals the guy in an empty room and, with nary a word, forces him face down & ass up over a table and begins thrusting her crotch into his defenceless ass, pulling and smelling his hair.

          I noticed they edited a little bit, but it still runs more or less as it was.

          Apparently, the way to sell products to young men is to make promises they will be assed raped by women.

      • Emma permalink
        5:58 am

        Hell, I’m a teenage girl and even I think the Axe is way over the top. A little bit? Okay. So much I get dizzy when you walk past? Yeah, I don’t think so.

  11. 4:19 pm

    Simply correct in every made of thought. We don’t smell funny; we smell what’s in front, behind, or to the side of us, and it’s usually some whacked out young wearing his pants so low, the brown streaks on his shorts are wrinkling the noses of discerning adults within a five mile radius.

    And we’re not slow; we’re deliberate. After decades of living life to it’s fullest, we have found rushing wastes both breath and the soles of expensive shoes. We know exactly what we want, and there’s no need to rush to get it.

    And if senility is knowing what two +two is, or who is actually the President of the United States is, I’ll take senility over the lack of intelligence in the punks of today any day.

  12. Blue permalink
    5:06 pm

    Don,

    For the record, I’d just like to clarify that my ‘best friend’ Seamus has only been dead for 20 years … not 40.

    • 7:38 pm

      My apologies Blue.

      Poetic license, you understand.

      Thanks for visiting.

      Don

      p.s. Seamus is a damned fine name.

  13. 9:58 pm

    Mr Mills

    First off congratulations you won the prize again this year…I am making the trophy but i need more brill creme and cray paper ..and i smelting some gold i found in my trunk..comes from selling DON MILLS trading cards..magine that…..Ok old are slow..thats the way it oughta be..zman sends

    • 4:28 pm

      Many thanks Zman,

      Quite an honour and I’m delighted that the 12 votes I was able to cast helped turn the tide in my favor. Take your time on the trophy construction, I need to clear some room off the mantle (those urns full of deceased family members are really just taking up room anyway).

      All the best, Zman, and thank you again. I appreciate it.

      Don

  14. 1:07 am

    Amen, Mr. Mills. May I add that decent old women smell like a combination of pot roast, Lemon Pledge, virtue, and Aqua Net hairspray. (And sometimes bourbon. But only on special occasions.)

    And we’re not slow. We’re deliberate.

    All the best,

    TexasTrailerParkTrash

    • 4:29 pm

      Thanks very much, TexasTrailerParkTrash,

      A fine description of a decent woman’s scent. Reminds me of my dear Aggie.

      All the best and thanks for stopping in. Always a pleasure to hear from you.

      Best regards,

      Don

    • 5:32 pm

      What? Not freshly baked bread or cookies in there?

  15. 2:39 am

    Undoubtedly one of my favorite bloggers! Always, on the mark with the laughs too! Yep, I’d say you still got it goin’ on Mr. Mills!

    • 4:29 pm

      Thank you Sherri,

      Very kind of you to say. I shall endeavor to keep it “going on” as logn as I am able.

      All the best,

      Don

  16. 4:15 am

    I don’t know if you watch the television show, “The Office,” but there is this character named Creed that says that he eats something called, “mumbeans” that give him a distinct old man smell.

    Hilarious as usual Mr. Mills.

  17. Chloe permalink
    6:18 am

    HAHAHHAhaha oh my goodness! This is by far the funniest and best blog EVER!

    I’m biting my hands trying not to laugh out loud (I’m in the office and don’t want my co-workers to think I’ve gone bonkers)

    Have to go and send this LOL blog to all my gen Y friends on FB.

    Chloe

  18. 12:18 pm

    There are times when young people are slow. It often goes like this:

    Young people act like they are in a hurry and cut you off.
    They get in front of you.
    They suddenly realize they don’t have a place to loiter and walk at a snail’s pace..
    You end up walking slow because they are too busy deciding whose house they’re going to play video games.

  19. 2:21 pm

    I believe the “smell” young people are referring to is the moth ball smell. I’m in my mid-20’s so don’t pass too much judgement but I was walking in an isle in Walmart one day and said to myself, “why does it smell like an old folks home..or old people?” I soon realized the smell came from a box of moth balls on a shelf right behind me. Why do I immediately react to the smell as being an older folk smell? I don’t know anyone else but much older men and women that actually use the moth balls. Plus, it reminds me of the time I spent doing some willing community service by serving food in an old folks retirement home and almost every one of them smelled like that smell. So, maybe this is what the youngins are talkin about. Great article though! True but very funny!

  20. 11:26 am

    Oh.. my side hurts SO BAD. I’ve been trawling your blog whenever I get the chance for 3 days now and I can’t stop reading, and yet my side can’t take another minute. I need to retire for the night at least.

  21. 7:54 pm

    Dude this is rude ok? like seriously i mean yes we get tatoos but usually not on our asses!

    I just got a tattoo of a peppermint on my ankle like Katy perrys but thats it! And old people do smell funny I mean its like you people have never heard of soap or freakin DEODORANT!!!!!!!

    And seriously taking 10 minutes to cross the street is freakin messed up bro! I dont give a crap if you maybe missplace your keys but if you’re just wancdering around senile-ly and stopping traffic taking an hour to cross the road THATS whats goddam disrespsctful!!!!!!!

    And seriously dude, I know not ALL old people are senile…..just about 99% of you.🙂

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