Last, last, last

Last, last, last.

We live in a very competitive age, don’t we?. Everyone wants to win the cup, get the gold medal and be top of the list. No one wants to be the runner up, the number two and come second. When you listen to the results of a race, you hear who won - round of applause - and who came second - not so loud a round of applause. But who cares who came in at the end? In other words who came last and yet someone has to, don’t they?

And let’s not forget what an important little adjective ‘last’ is. It’s very busy and crops up all over the place. ‘The last thing I want to do’ says the young man (and we don’t really believe him) to his girl friend, ‘is hurt you but I think it’s time we split up.’ There he is saying he doesn’t really want to be nasty and horrible and yet that’s exactly what he’s being. In public houses in the UK the licensing laws for when landlords can sell alcohol are fairly strict and when the landlord calls out: Last orders! he’s telling people that if they want a drink, now is the last time to order it.

You probably know the word ‘resort’ meaning a place but the expression ‘as a last resort’ is used to describe the stage you reach when nothing else is possible: All the hotels in the area were full and there seemed to be nowhere where we could find a room for the night and so as a last resort we decided to sleep in the park using newspapers as a sort of blanket. And talking of newspapers, perhaps it’s a good idea to mention the difference between ‘last’ and ‘latest’. If there is only one newspaper left in the shop and you take it, you have bought the last newspaper. The latest edition of a newspaper is the most recent. Imagine you have invented something and everyone laughs at you, saying it will never sell. Then you make a fortune out of it and it becomes very successful. That’s when you have the last laugh

In the Bible there is a saying that we must remember that it is not always the people pushing away in the front who are the most important but those at the end of the queue: So the last shall be first and the first last, for many are called but few are chosen. This is, you could say, good news for those people who are having a hard time in life. You may well be having a hard time trying to pay for everything and then you find you have to pay an extremely large and unexpected bill. Now, that’s what you call the last straw (another expression from the Bible) and this is when you reach an impossible situation.

And now finally, at last I imagine you’re thinking, we come to the sort of person who never stops making a point. You’re having an argument, a discussion and eventually you think that’s the end of the discussion but then this person we all dislike always likes to add something at the end - the sort of person who always has to have the last word. What more can I say?