My dad likes to tell a story about me as a kid. More of an anecdote. We'd be stuck in a traffic jam and I'd ask, 'Who's the very first in line?' I guess he found it amusing since he tells it 30+ years later. Never asked him why. I will.
Of course no single person was first in the traffic jam. I learned that eventually, but even read a book about it a few years ago to fully wrap my head around it. I *think* Marc Schiller recommended it, if my memory serves me right.
I've always been interested in first. Not necessarily first place. More like, who was the first person to ever _______? Because the person who did _______ first was probably nuts in all the best ways.
It's why the Guinness Book of World Records fascinates me ... it's theoretically a chronicle of things no one else had accomplished (I use that word loosely) until that point ... tallest, fastest, longest nails, most time in a tree house.
But first gets really boring when it really just means before you ...
I discovered that hot new restaurant. (no)
I heard this band before anyone else. (you)
I'm doing this new workout that only monks in rural Mongolia know about. (did)
I bought a home in this neighborhood before any of these yuppies. (not)
Boring because it doesn't mean anything. No accomplishment to be in awe of. Nothing inherently interesting. Trust me, being before me on most anything is not a feat worth bragging about.
Chuck Yeager. Neil Armstrong. Sandra Day O'Connor. Mark Spitz. Harvey Milk. George Washington. Althea Gibson. Ricky Nelson. These are real firsts. They were literally the car at the front of the line - not a single person had ever come before them. That's worth bragging about.