One has done everything one has done a first time. Does choosing denote hierarchy?
Some surely important things, one does not remember.
I wish I remembered the first time I brought my mama flowers in a child's fist.
The obvious ones stand clearly - the first time I touched a patient's teeth with a steel tool.
The first time I smiled across a Faro table and announced the Soda..
The first time I faced a man with a gun in cool slow seriousness, though in truth it was a boy and it did not quite turn out that way...
I know. You want me also to tell you the first time I made love, the first time I killed, the first time I wept for someone, the first time I hated myself, the first time I met my friend.
Perhaps in time. But for now...
That is what first means to me. It is duty. Two duties in one, as a matter of fact - one a reminder. Nulli Virtute Secundus. In Virtue Second to None. It is not exactly the same in English, the preposition implied in Latin by the ablative case of 'Virtute.' But I am sure I digress.
It is something to live up to, to keep in mind always - a measuring stick. One can watch what one does, one's immanent actions, and simply think: Is this the best I can do in terms of virtue? For 'Never Second' means always doing one's very best.
And Virtue. It is not exactly what is now implied either. Now it refers only to the rather dull mere trappings of decency. Temperance and abstinence from what they call vice. But often vice is merely trappings itself. Virtue is not a failure to participate in certain behaviours that would hurt no one in themselves. Drink, gambling, unauthorised sex, failing to disengage from fights, living without stable home or visible means of support. Perhaps you can see where that is going. But that is trappings; all of it, save perhaps the part about avoiding fights, for if one does that one is a coward and that too is core.
Virtue is Honour. It is Courage. It is Strength. The root is Vir, which is Man, and I truly mean no offence. More core than simple habits, Virtue infuses the root of one's very character, forms everything. It means holding loyalty sacred, not lying, standing up for those who are helpless and abused. It demands that one sacrifice ease for what is best. And it is more dangerous than mere avoiding of what they call vice. What is that? A blue ribbon for the Temperance League, and a smile of approval from those who would feel morally superior without action. Yes, when I was younger I wore such a ribbon, so I do know. But how much more character is there in telling the truth, holding to one's word, standing by one's friends, though murder and pain and threat of worse pursue one? For if you stand to such principles, you are sworn to death and supposed dishonour. But the world turns on that fulcrum of the will to virtue.
And the very selection of Virtue holds one to that above all, first in one's consideration in all things. It is not merely that one strive to excel so that none may be more virtuous. But one must hold Virtue always above all other qualities as ideal.
Yes, I am an egomaniac, though that is a word of the future. I repeat to myself, as a prayer and another motto: Pride is a Virtue. Perhaps you do not understand how that can be a prayer. It is akin to crossing one's fingers, a token to set one's mind on honour in the first case and luck in the second. A token like a coin to carry in one's pocket. Yes, that pleases me. But a motto and adhering to it is not selfish, though I have surely been called selfish and worse, perhaps for just such views. It is an ideal.Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Word Count: 676.
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Nulli Virtute Secundus