THE FIRST DAY OF SPRING, the first day of summer, the first day the baby walked, these occasions get all the plaudits and the second day gets nothing. Nobody remembers or even cares about the second of anything. It’s a damn shame. Who remembers the second time in their life that they had sex? Or the second time they drove a car? It’s only the first time that achieves recognition and enduring remembrance.
Ballplayers remember their first home run, not their second. The second time around the bases doesn’t have the same cachet, the same historical significance.
“In the first is the last” wrote Robert Browning, and I suspect that what he meant was that after the first, no one pays that much attention. Once you’ve broken the ice and gotten off zero, the other times simply don’t count for as much.
Perhaps there are instances when things happen so fast, it’s difficult to resurrect the exact order or the proper identities of the parties. “Who’s on first, What’s on second, I Don’t Know’s on third—“
So I mourn the passing of firsts. After a certain age, one begins to anticipate not firsts but lasts. The last time one had sex; the last time one drove a car; the last time one looked up at the attending medical professional, grinned, and whispered, “And now for something completely different.”