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Nothing left to learn
"How did you finally quit, Pauli?"
"What made it stick?"
I fumbled for an answer, searching for the perfect piece of sage advice or hard-earned wisdom packaged up into a tight little quip.
"I don't think you ever quit quittin'," I said.
"It's a day-by-day, minute-by-minute choice."
"But don't beat yourself up," I told him.
"You're just not done with it yet."
"Or it's not done with you."
Did I ever tell you the one about...
So there's this door-to-door salesman.
The old-fashioned, shoe-leather, door-knockin' sales system, right?
It's the end of the day. This salesman is dog-tired. He's walked from one end of town to the next, getting doors slammed in his face all day.
Not a single sale.
So he’s walking back to his hotel at the edge of town, and he spies one more lonely house sitting between him, a hot meal and a lumpy night's sleep.
"I ain't stoppin'. Too tired," he mumbles
But as he gets closer, he notices an old man sitting on the porch whittling away on a piece of wood, hound dog at his side.
"That old man don’t want these kitchen knives. Ain’t no sense even tryin'."
But the closer he gets to his hotel room and a chance to get off his feet, the more it starts to gnaw at him.
"Aww, what the hell," he says. "What's one more door slammed in my face?"
As he gets closer to the house, he can hear this old hound dog just howling, moaning, and wailing.
"Strange," he thinks.
He walks up the drive.
"Excuse me, sir. Mind if I ask you a question?"
And away he goes, sailing off into his well-rehearsed sales pitch, how his knives slice and dice, chop, and julienne, and how Mrs. Ross up the road just bought two sets: one for her and one for her daughter, as a wedding gift, and "you wouldn’t happen to know anyone about to get married now would you?"
The salesman pulls out all the stops – lays it all on the line.
The old man just smiles, continues to whittle, and the hound dog continues to wail.
When he finally gets to the end of his spiel, the old man still silent, the salesman finally gives up.
"You’re not interested in these kitchen knives, are you, sir?"
The old fella looks up and smiles.
"Well, I didn’t think so, sir, but it’s my sales instinct, you know? I just couldn’t walk by without extending the offer. Thank you very much for your time."
But as the salesman turns to walk away, he stops, spins back around...
"Excuse me, sir. I just have one more question..."
"What in the HELL is wrong with that dog!? He’s been yelping and wailing since I spotted your house way back down the road."
The old man stops his whittling, leans back in his chair, winces at the dog's rump, and says...
"Looks like he’s settin' on a nail."
"A nai...Well, why the hell doesn't he MOVE?"
The old man smiles, looks at the dog, looks back at the salesman...
"I guess it just don’t hurt enough yet."
The best I got.
"I wish there were an easy answer," I told my friend.
"I think the last time I quit, it stuck because the alcohol didn't have anything more to teach me."
"Like there was nothing left to learn, you know?"
"But honestly," I paused.
"I think it finally hurt enough."
I love you guys.
Be safe. And have a great weekend.