Sign over the entrance to a karate studio next door to the IHOP in Boonton, New Jersey.
Over the entrance of a karate studio that’s gone out of business.
This one’s bugged me for years. Every time we’ve stopped for breakfast at the IHOP on our way to visit Old Mother and Old Father Blonde and I’ve read it, I’ve pictured some Bluto-esque former Marine drill instructor type bending down to push his face into the face of a weeping eight year old who just couldn’t keep up to yell, “What are you, a quitter?” If there’d been a sign like that over the doors of young Ken’s dojo when we took him to sign up, I’d have turned right around and gone looking for another sensei, one less full of his own bluster and taken with his own tough-mindedness I hate inspirational sayings generally and bullying ones like this especially, so when I saw the place had closed since our last trip this way my first mean-spirited thought was “But I guess it’s ok to quit when you’re an adult.”
But in all likelihood the owners didn’t quit, didn’t want to quit, would have loved to have stayed in business, did everything they could to keep the place open, and despite their efforts, despite their determination, despite their never having quit, in the end the money just wasn’t there.
Or maybe it wasn’t the money. Maybe it was their health. Maybe in spirit they didn’t quit, but their bodies quit on them.
No matter how hard we try, no matter our best intentions, no matter how determined we are not to quit, life just refuses to play fair.