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A good friend of mine used to say that being second best is like being the first. Looking at the tail end of the winner is somehow satisfying knowing that you were at least in the top three. The winner gets their rightly earned title while the rest of us get bragging rights to tell our grandchildren. Let’s say that you were the second-fastest sprinter in the world; sooner or later, the winner might pass on and voilà, you become the fastest runner in the world by default. It’s a long wait for some to become the best if you have to wait for someone to die first. But hey, it happens.

For example, let’s take the former world-class athlete Bruce Jenner. For some time he was the best male athlete in the world, winning at the Olympics and world championships. Then he changed his gender. Does that make his accomplishments moot or do they still count? Bad example, I guess.

How about the teams who lose in the Stanley Cup finals? Are they remembered in the same way as the winning team? Who came in second last year? For those who do remember, it’s good to know that their memories are right up there with the winners of memory tests and spelling bees around the world.

Aside from those who win and those who always come in second – like yours truly at awards ceremonies when it comes to writing this column year after year – it might be good to see some things come to an end. Take the longest war in modern times, the war between North and South Korea. It just ended with some friendly handshaking between a wary leader of the south and a despot of the north.

Yes, Kim Jong-un finally threw in the towel. Now he’ll be remembered as the one who decided to bring his people back to the world of the free and most likely statues of him will be erected in the cutest way. I’d say his hairdo is pretty cute for a world leader, don’t you? And the real winner, who didn’t really say too much in a diplomatic way, the Donald of course, will just have to stand by and not take any. Meanwhile, Ronald Reagan will always be credited for helping tear down the Berlin Wall and reunite Germany.

In our Cree world, we used to have the world’s biggest dams in our backyard, but now that title belongs to China with the Three Gorges dams. We also were the first to have Canada’s modern-day treaty, but now other First Nations are successfully negotiating and coming to terms with development and inequitable treatment from governments. But hey, we were the first. That should be remembered with our own holiday to commemorate those historic times.

I for one, probably won’t be remembered for anything as glorious as bringing world peace or ending world hunger, or even for bringing down a record number of geese with one shot. I prefer to be the second best at anything. Like making the second-best pizza dough, after your momma’s of course, or being the second-best columnist, or being the second-oldest in my class, or being a second-class citizen. But, hey, that leaves room for expansion and growth, while leaders have nowhere else to go except to lose their beloved titles at being simply the best.

One day, I shall be the best at something and what little glory I gain to bask in, will be enough for me.

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