What Ghosts Smell Like

“I don’t think today is a more anxious time than the past. We had to worry about the threat of nuclear war!” said an older Boomer to me back in 2016. I had just told her how much more anxiety-ridden the current moment felt compared to many other times in relatively recent human history. But in yet another attack on “younger generations” for being critical of them Boomers are apparently now using seemingly documented rises in anxiety among “younger generations” in an attempt to craft subtle, ingenious insults. How the writer who authored the most recent piece for the WSJ fails to see the illogical nonsense that amounts to his “argument” as what it is makes me wonder…

They created the issues making people younger than them anxious and dour. How in the world is that something to brag about? Are they trying to make us hate them before they die so we’ll grieve less? If so, how…bleak, but also how thoughtful?

But no, I think I’d like to grieve. Thank you. Let me miss you all…

My grandmother had a better idea. “I’m not going to live forever, you know!” she’d say. Maybe they really just don’t get that? Do they still secretly think they’re the youthful wellspring of vital brilliance? …More like self-loathing, morose, upside down, empty narcissism masquerading as “adulting.” Profound hypocrites who “hated” hypocrisy. They self-righteously “broke the rules” of “The Man” in their youth…only to later deceptively manipulate “The Man” to gain selfish amounts of power rendered more useless over time as a result.

Yet, God bless them… Sincerely.

As a generation they were very in the moment. Perhaps they didn’t consider their own mortality in an honest way… Or mortality in general. But they believed they were alive. Deeply alive. …And I wonder what they’ll smell like as ghosts.

Ghosts can smell like themselves you know? Or traces of their lives. Pipe tobacco. Cigarette smoke that’s different than what you’d smell today… An oh so faint mixture of their pheromones, some pungent herbal cologne of the past and alcohol.

What will Boomer ghosts smell like? I’m guessing a mixture of shampoo, clean laundry, earthy-woody perfumed regret.

If God has allowed me to truly sense real ghosts then the ghosts of the Greatest Generation and the Silent Generation tend (with exceptions) toward smelling of horror. As in, once dead they generally seem to be shocked by how much worse things are for the living than they thought while alive. But I bet Boomers will smell mostly of regret… Some maybe already do. As Lee Radziwill said shortly before her own death, “Regrets? I think everyone has regrets, and people who say they haven’t are either liars…or narcissists.”

…And Millenials? Shock. Extreme, overwhelming shock. Shock that things are so bad. Shock that things are so good. …Shock that they really do still exist! …Shock.