I quit playing the guitar in fourth grade because I couldn’t quite master the opening lick to “Sweet Home Alabama.” It’s a silly song anyway. “Simple Man” is much better. At the time, I couldn’t play that song either.

I quit playing guitar in sixth grade because I decided I’d rather break my six-string over the back of a chair rather than practice. I put it in the closet and prayed to God to fix it. My words must have gone to voicemail. Now I use AT&T.

And finally, at the age of 32, I quit playing the guitar for the last time. Yes, I could pluck the opening to both “Godzilla” and “Hell’s Bells,” but I couldn’t play a single Misfits song in its entirety — the sad part about that is each one of their songs has no more than three chords.

To make matters worse, while practicing one day, I seriously hurt my terrible twos. How? Let’s just say that I’ll leave the Don Quixote-air-guitar acrobatics to Pete Townshend. And let me tell you, Sancho and Panza appreciate it. As for the Man from La Mancha himself, that ole knight is pleased as PJ that he can still spend his days jousting windmills.

So believe me, when I say I know what it’s like to be a quitter, you know I speak from experience. And Sarah Palin, why, she’s a quitter.

You know this. I know this. But Palin evidently doesn’t know this. And that is why I fully support her as the 2012 Republican Presidential nominee.

But it’s not why you think. This isn’t a partisan thing. Yes, I’m a pinko bastard. Not going to hide it. But I’m a clown at heart. I like nothing more than putting a big red, rubber nose on my face and having a good laugh. And Sarah, that’s what she does for me. She’s the best comedian in the biz.

The sad thing is, I had almost forgotten all about her. That is until her stunning announcement two weeks ago. And then, in a flashing “You Betcha,” it all came back to me. I wet my pants.

But when it came time to write last week’s column, I didn’t know what to say. I struggled and struggled and struggled. It was like trying to read Atlas Shrugged. Or Watership Down. Or Don Quixote. I knew that if there was one column that I had to write, it was this one. And yet, I couldn’t think of anything to say.

So I decided that the best thing to do was quit. To shut the laptop down and save myself the trouble. There would be no column from me in that week’s issue of the paper. I then realized that I could do more good as a journalist if I worked outside of media altogether. So I did.

I took a trip to Greenville. I hung out with the in-laws. I walked around downtown. I watched some fireworks. I celebrated my wedding anniversary. I played with the dogs. I surfed the net. I read a few magazines. I posted to Facebook. I drank some beer. I thought about taking guitar lessons. I fought a few dragons. And slowly but surely, I came to the realization that this quitting thing suited me pretty well. In fact, I decided to try it more often. Like every Tuesday around 9 o’clock when we begin putting the paper to bed. The guys in production are pros. They can handle it.

So here’s to you, Sarah Palin, for inspiring me to forgo writing last week’s column. You are a towering windmill of strength for all of us quitters and a shining example of self-delusion.

Don Quixote salutes you, and Sancho Panza thinks you deserves a standing O.

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