The list of lasts

The List of Lasts is comprised of those items judged to be in need of final resolution or permanent change &

how and when is open to speculation. The List can also cover a wide spectrum, from the political to the personal. Some items come from the "either you laugh or you begin weeping uncontrollably" camp. Below are some examples.

1. On February 7, 2021, the last student to drop out of school left the administration office, walked down the quiet hall and pushed through the heavy beveled glass doors, refusing to look back. No Child Left Behind has been completely revamped to mean what it says, and testing is no longer the panacea. The manner in which schools are funded has been overhauled, and vast resources are now equably allocated to preparing our children for life in the 21st century.

2. On March 3, 2012, the last company of combat soldiers left Iraq. They didn't look back.

3. In the summer of 2015, after a long national debate, and after overcoming much resistance by those who insisted "federalized medicine" would have disastrous results, the last uninsured person was covered by a universal healthcare plan underwritten by the government. No longer would catastrophic illness or accident bankrupt families, no longer would Americans be told to go to the hospital emergency if they fell ill. The posture of the coverage is robustly preventative. Forty-one million people didn't looked back.

4. On May 15, 2009, the last detainee was transferred from Guantanamo prison to a federal facility in America and the prison closed. The prisoner was granted the right of habeas corpus, access to an attorney and brought before a judge for a hearing.

5. On April 1, 2008, the last story about Britney Spears appeared on cable news and in tabloid papers. Britney is living quietly, clean and sober, performing on occasion, and devoting an inordinate amount of time to raising her two children. She no longer takes Paris' calls.

6. On August 19, 2023, after an exceptionally warm Arctic summer, with unprecedented melt-off, the last wild Polar Bear, gaunt from lack of food, exhausted from a long swim across a heretofore ice-covered ocean, slipped off its ice floe into the warming Arctic waters never to be seen again. Domesticated Polar Bears are still bred in captivity, but scenes of them walking slowly across vast stretches of white ice, small cubs nearby, are the stuff of memory and film but no longer part of our world.

7. On October 9, 2016, the last video game was played by Gerald Bontragger who emerged from his house blinking, appearing pale and a bit disoriented, his plastic penholder askew. He had, like all of the gamers before him, decided he would rather be outside. The sea change has yet to be explained by Larry King or any of his guests.

8. November 21, 2009, was the last day before the point of no return for global warming was reached. Nothing we do from this point on will change the warming of the planet. It only remains to be seen how warm.

9. On January 23, 2009, the last members of the Bush White House placed all of their personal items in cardboard boxes, met briefly for small talk, and then turned out the lights. They walked to the parking lot and got into their Hummers and tried not to look back. President Bush, soon to be former, would depart for Crawford, Texas, in three days. Retirement or no, he would not be subscribing to the weekend edition of the New York Times. He did buy a new chain saw and a Segway with off-road capabilities.

10. The last snows on Kilimanjaro melted on May 9, 2009. High school English students, assigned to read Ernest Hemingway, asked: when was there ever snow on the mountain?

11. On January 22, 2009, the last prisoner, held in the last over seas "black site" was waterboarded. He offered up a long and detailed narrative about his radical exploits, most false, then insisted later that he would have said anything not to feel like he was drowning.

12. On March 4, 2009, a conversation between Hilda Swenson and Gladys Marshall was the last to be wiretapped without a FISA court order. The recipe for rhubarb pie being discussed was at first deemed classified, then shared openly among federal employees.

13. On October 12, 2008, mere days before the election, Hillary Clinton gave her last stump speech wearing a Hermes V-neck sweater that revealed a hint of cleavage. No Commander-in-Chief has ever had serious cleavage and her advisors insisted, in the future, on demur high-buttoned blouses with Armani jackets in charcoal or black, perhaps with a reticent pearl necklace.

14. On, the last librarian was asked by a Homeland Security agent for the reading list of one Marvin Truckman, reputed survivalist and Libertarian. Apparently Marvin had only checked out one book in the last two years: "Fiber is Your Friend." Though seeming suspicious, the agent left without commenting.

15. On November 4, 2008, just after 3:00 am, the last vote finally counted, a Republican, wearing a dented Uncle Sam hat and a wide stars and stripes tie, a bag of unopened confetti still in his jacket pocket, left a rented hall and drove home. He tried not to look back.

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