A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
“After winning, I threw the ball into the crowd. Apparently, that’s unacceptable in bowling” (5/23)
“She made French toast and got her tongue caught in the toaster” (5/22)
“The universe is made of protons, neutrons, electrons and morons” (5/22)
“The job requires me to get a potato clock” (get up at eight o’clock) (5/22)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (5/22)
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Entry from July 11, 2011
“When you’re getting kicked in the rear, it means you’re in front”

"When you’re getting kicked in the rear, it means you’re in front” is often credited to Fulton J. Sheen (1895-1979), but there is insufficient documentation to confirm this. The saying has been cited in print since at least 1954.

A similar saying is, “If you’re not catching flak, you’re not over the target.” Both sayings have been popular in business and in politics.


Wikipedia: Fulton J. Sheen
Fulton John Sheen, born Peter John Sheen (May 8, 1895 – December 9, 1979) was an American archbishop of the Catholic Church known for his preaching and especially his work on television and radio. His cause for canonization for sainthood was officially opened in 2002, so he is now referred to as a “Servant of God”.

Ordained a priest of the Diocese of Peoria in 1919, Sheen quickly became a renowned theologian, earning the Cardinal Mercier Prize for International Philosophy in 1923. He went on to teach theology and philosophy as well as acting as a parish priest before being appointed Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of New York in 1951. He held this position until 1966 when he was made the Bishop of Rochester.

Google Books
8 November 1954, Newburgh (NY) News, classified ad, pg. 18, col. 2:
ONE CONSOLATION
...In being kicked in the rear is that it can’t happen unless you are out in front.

28 April 1957, Chicago (IL) Daily Tribune, “The Modern Almanac” by Herb Daniels, pg. C6:
The way we figger, if you get kicked in the rear, it must mean you are out in front.

6 October 1967, new Orleans (LA) Times-Picayune, pg. 17 ad:
SCHWEGMANN SAYS:
Don’t worry if you get kicked in the rear. It simply means you are in front.
(Schwegmann’s stores—ed.)

5 March 1968, St. Albans (VT) Daily Messenger, “Everywhere” by Walter Winchell. pg. 2, col. 1:
Most interesting Quotation Marksmanship (credited to A. Lasker) in the new Sabbath-blatt: “Don’t worry if a rival imitates you. When he’s following in your tracks, he can’t pass you”...Soooo-troo, but Fulton J. Sheen said it ages agoooo, to wit: “Don’t worry about getting kicked in the rear. It means you are in front of the kicker.”

Google Books
14,000 Quips and Quotes for Speakers, Writers, Editors, Preachers, and Teachers
By E. C. McKenzie
Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House
1990, ©1980
Pg. 482:
To reach the front many a man has to be kicked in the rear.

Google Books
Caught between the dog and the fireplug, or how to survive public service
By Kenneth H. Ashworth
Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press
2001
Pg. 168:
If you are getting kicked in the rear, it means you are in front. — Chinese fortune cookie

Google Books
Business Wit & Wisdom
By Richard S. Zera
Washington, DC: Beard Books
2005
Pg. 139:
When you are getting kicked in the rear, it must mean you’re in front. —Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

Google Books
Leadership Gold:
Lessons learned from a lifetime of leading

By John C. Maxwell
Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson
2008
Pg. ? (Chapter 4):
WHEN YOU GET KICKED IN THE REAR, YOU KNOW YOU’RE OUT IN FRONT

Google Books
Life Changing Thoughts: Thousands of Inspiring, Life-changing, and Humorous Thoughts
By Gary W. Smith
Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse
2009
Pg. 364:
When you get kicked in the rear, at least it means you are out in the front.

Media Matters for America
Huckabee On Criticism: There’s A Saying, “When You’re Getting Kicked In The Rear, It Just Proves You’re Still Out Front”
March 09, 2011 9:32 am ET
From the March 8 edition of WGKA’s Denny Radio:...

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Monday, July 11, 2011 • Permalink