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Famous Last Words

Kenyon Sayler

YOU PROBABLY RECALL many firsts: Your first car, your first kiss, maybe even the first stock you purchased.

Firsts are exciting. Firsts are easy to demark. You’ve never purchased an item before, so—when you do purchase it—it’s a first. By contrast, lasts sneak up on you. There’s always a chance that you’ll replace an item one more time.

My wife has caused me to start thinking about my lasts.

This winter, my 36-year-old winter mittens finally wore out. In fairness, it was the outer mitten that wore out. I’d earlier replaced the wool liners three times. When I went looking for a new pair, I was startled by the $80 price tag. My wife said, “Don’t worry about the cost. This will be the last pair you’ll ever buy.”

That shocked me. But realistically, in 36 years, I’ll be replacing this pair of mittens when I’m age 98. Assuming that I’m still around, I’m less likely to be doing winter camping or walking the dog in the dead of winter, so she’s probably correct. This will be my last pair of mittens.

Our 26-year-old CRT television finally wore out. The replacement TV I purchase may be the last TV I’ll ever buy. If a new one lasts as long as my old one, I’ll be age 88 when it’s time to get a replacement. True, the odds are a bit better that I’ll need a new TV than a new pair of mittens—but not much. It can be a bit depressing to count down your life by the list of things that you’ll never need to purchase again.

Still, I disagree with my wife on one item. She has said that our current dog will be my last dog. I’m only willing to concede that he will be the last dog I get while married to my first wife.

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