Caution.

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These words of warning are spray-painted on the ground at a local skate park (more photos from there later). At first I thought they read, “DONt FAIL,” but I then I realized that the arrow was pointing helpfully toward the stairs, so “DONt FALL” was probably more likely.

(Recently, I watched a YouTube video about a couple of guys in Ecuador who go around their city fixing grammatically incorrect graffiti with red spray paint. Had they been here, they probably would’ve been all over the missing apostrophe and inconsistent letter cases. No matter, we get the message.)

I’ve seen some of these kids at the skate park. They’re tough. There’s a whole lot of falling going on. Or failing. Isn’t it more or less the same thing?

They pretty much never stay down.

And the really skilled ones, I’ll bet, are the ones who’ve fallen the most.

I’m guessing they were being funny with their choice of messaging, or – you never know – maybe one of their mothers is responsible for writing these cautionary words. My children never seem to hear me when I tell them to be careful, so if I just wrote them a permanent note wherever they liked to hang out, then maybe they’d pay attention.

Whether these kids at the park actually need a written reminder not to fall, one thing seems certain: they don’t need one telling them to get back up.

Most of us do, though, from time to time. And that’s okay.

That’s what red spray paint is for.

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