Stop and smell the flowers. No, really.
Alex Bogusky is a troublemaker, creative and modern Mad Man of the first order. He’s also been a great elephriend, advising us here and there and recently featuring our editor, Waylon Lewis, on Alex‘s Fearless Q&A talk show. We’re honored psyched to have him join our ranks of Featured Columnists, who you’ll see listed at the bottom of every page of this site.
Enjoy! ~ MV.
“Stop and smell the flowers,” is apparently a misquote from a 1958 book by golf legend Walter Hagen.
“You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry. Don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.”
I didn’t read the book, but I’ve known the phrase my whole life, it seems.
As it happens, I sort of prefer the misquote: “Stop and smell the flowers.” To me, it’s always been a wonderful euphemism for slowing down and enjoying life. But I think I’ve come to realize this one is best taken quite literally.
It took me 46 years to actually stop and smell a flower—and I’d suggest that was way. Too. Long.
A few weeks ago I was on a walk back from lunch. This is important. Because it is much more difficult to stop and smell the flowers when you’re driving. So, walking is key.
Anyway, there was another man coming the other way across the street, and he seemed very happy. Suddenly, he noticed something on my side of the street and made a beeline toward me. As he passed, he commented, “Wonder what these smell like.”
And as I walked away I heard him say, “not much smell at all.” Well, I wanted to be this happy, but I didn’t want to bite on his style right away, so I made a mental note to try this flower smelling on my walk home. On the next walk home I remembered the man, but I was running late for something so I considered putting it off until another time.
And that when it hit me: the “stop” really means stop. I’ve smelled flowers before. Plenty of times. But not when I was supposed to be doing something “more important.”
So I stopped and I smelled them. At first, it felt…
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