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#55. My high school yearbook quote was a Husker Du song lyric.

Okay, so maybe that doesn't make me the coolest person in the world -- this blog does, of course, not the yearbook thing -- but I was pretty proud of myself, nonetheless. While all the other kids were making up lame shit, or putting in Bible quotes, or pulling lyrics from lame Duran Duran or Rush tunes, I got my motto from the coolest thing to come out of Minnesota since... um, since... okay, let me get back to you on that one. I'll have to check the encyclopedia to see whether anything cool ever came out of there before Bob Mould and the boys.

(Did the Replacements come first? They'd qualify for sure, but I'm not sure which band rocked and rolled before the other. Oh, and don't give me any shit about Prince. Sorry, TAFKA Prince. (Hey, if he can drop the whole name, I can acronymize the explanation part. Anyway, he doesn't need that 'The Artist Formerly...' crap. I've come up with a pronunciation for his little symbol, so we can all call him something much shorter again. It's 'Wha'. Just call him, 'Wha'. If you have any trouble with it, just remember that it's short for 'Wha' the hell happened to my fucking career? Hello? Is anybody still paying attention to me?' That oughta help.)

Anyway, for all (two) of you who are just dying to know what my quote was, I'll tell you. It's from the song 'These Important Years', on the album Warehouse: Songs and Stories. (Which, by the way, I highly recommend, even fifteen or so years later. Husker Du kicked ass!)

So, the quote I liked is just before one of the choruses, and it goes like this:

If you don't stop to smell the roses now, they might end up on you.

Of course, I thought it was exceptionally clever. The song -- if you're not familiar with it -- is about appreciating your youth, and being thankful for what you have, and realizing that you've got it pretty damned good, and not to get caught up in all the day-to-day drama and unimportant shit. And the line above is a perfect summary -- there's metaphor, and a familiar saying, and the suggestion that worrying too much may ultimately kill you, and then the roses you never stopped to smell will be adorning your grave. It's all very poignant and poetic, no? Oh, and deep. Don't forget deep. It's deeeeep, man.

So, of course, nobody fucking got it.

I walked around in the last month of high school explaining the quote to every dimwitted nimbulb who read it in the yearbook.

Them: 'Whut's that mean, man? Roses gunna end up on you? Whut?'

Me: 'Well, it means you'll be dead. If you don't stop to enjoy life, then you'll worry yourself to death. And they'll put roses on your grave.'

Them: 'Aw. Ukay, I gets it now. Don't make much durn sense, tho'. You oughter use somethin' from AC/DC, like ah did. Here's mine: Hey Satan! Paid my dues, playing in a rockin' band'! Cool, huh? That there's from Highway to Hell. Angus rocks! Yee-haw!'

Me: 'Um, thanks, Cletus. Just put your 'X' in my yearbook and pass it back, would you? And stop drooling on the cover, dude. I don't need to see that.'

Okay, maybe it wasn't quite that bad. Still, those yokels had no idea how fucking cool it was. And clever, and deep. Oh so deep. I like to imagine my classmates pulling the yearbook out years later, to look up a picture or relive old times. And maybe they pass by the page with my picture on it, and stop to look at the goofy grinning guy. And then their eyes will wander down to my quote, and suddenly, in a flash of coherence, they'll finally, completely get it. The fog will just melt away, and they'll understand the significance, and the depth, and the utter coolness of it all. They'll gaze into space, seeing their lives for the very first time. Maybe they'll vow to live just a little bit differently, or make sweeping changes, but they'll read the quote, and they'll know, for the first time in their lives, how to finally be happy. Slowly, their eyes will refocus, and their mind will come back to the present, full of new energy and a world of possibilities. They'll peer closer at the book, scrutinizing the face of the one who has brought them this newfound liberation.

'Eh. He was still a fuckin' dweeb.'

What's a visionary thinker have to do to get a little goddamned respect around here, anyway?!


great song. i love it too, and i interpret it pretty much as you do, life is now and stop worrying, go for it, dont hesitate.. knut, norway

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