Humor Non-Fiction posted March 24, 2020


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Third Time's No Charm

by Elizabeth Emerald


W. E. Hickson is credited with popularizing* the proverb:

'Tis a lesson you should heed:
Try, try, try again.
If at first you don't succeed,
Try, try, try again.

W. C. Fields is (falsely) credited with this comeback:

"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There's no point in being a damn fool about it."

I, E. Emerald, credit myself with this wince-worthy verse supporting the pseudo sentiments of W.C.:

Tried it once.
Tried it twice.
Tried once more.
That's three: No dice.

I coined this insipid ditty as a reminder to quit when I'm behind. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. I'm OK with two more tries. It's that third try: try, try, try again--meaning, the fourth attempt--that I balk at.

My pathetic bit of "poetry" was inspired, painfully, by experience.

Example: Learning to drive.**

1st try: Age 19, under duress from my parents, I took lessons in the summer of 1976, while home after college graduation. In complete accord with the expectation of my unlucky instructor, I failed the road test with cringing colors. The examiner was astounded that I managed to do everything wrong, and then some. That is, I messed up in ways nobody had ever thought of, much less accomplished. I would have achieved an even higher negative score had I been allowed to complete the test; the examiner, understandably, declined to forgo the rest of his morning--or, for that matter, his life--on my account.

2nd try: Age 26, under duress from my (1st) husband, I took lessons in the summer of 1983, while on lunch-break. To the utter shock of my unlucky instructor, I passed the road test with flailing colors. The examiner was rolling his eyes and clenching his teeth the entire time; nevertheless--whilst expressing serious reservations and, superfluously, shaking his head--he gave me a pass. I rushed to buy a car the very next day--paying top dollar despite its being end-of-season--in order to force myself to drive. I quickly sought and found a new job, out of town, so as to justify driving to work.

3rd try: Age 40, under duress from my (2nd) husband, I took lessons in the summer of 1997, from him. This was by way of a refresher course; after my year of driving dangerously, I had taken a subway-friendly job, and had sold my car 13 years earlier. To the amazement of both my husband and myself, as soon as I sat in the driver's seat, those 13 years vanished in an instant. Instinct took over; rather, I should say, all my bad habits did. I drove with trepidation for four years, until the day I had a minor accident, by my carelessness, of course.

4rd try: There was none. When people ask why I don't drive, I explain that it's for "health reasons." That is, for the sake of the health of everyone else on the road who would otherwise be in my path.





Recognized


Thanks to Sean T Phelan for artwork: Nineteen-Forty-Seven Kaiser

*The proverb can be traced back to the writings of Thomas H. Palmer in his Teacher's Manual, and The Children of the New Forest by Frederick Marryat.

**Regarding the origin of my aversion, see my piece "Backseat Driver."

Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Artwork by Sean T Phelan at FanArtReview.com

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© Copyright 2020. Elizabeth Emerald All rights reserved.
Elizabeth Emerald has granted FanStory.com, its affiliates and its syndicates non-exclusive rights to display this work.