Jim Hulsey of Edmond read recently in a regional magazine that WKY-TV was "one of Oklahoma's first television stations."
"Shouldn't the copy editor have said, 'one of Oklahoma's earliest television stations'?" Jim asked as he relaxed by the grease pit at Curly's Soonerco on a comfortable seat recently removed from the cab of a 1973 Dodge pickup.
Buck reckons that if WKY-TV went on the air in 1953 or thereabouts along with three other stations, that group could be referred to as "Oklahoma's first four television stations." WKY-TV would therefore be "one of the first."
In this case, "first" doesn't refer to a number but to an order of succession. It can be compared to "last." Oklahoma was one of the first states admitted to the union in the 20th century. It was one of the last to join the union. Delaware was the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution. Virginia was the 10th, but it was one of the first since it was a member of the original 13.
That said, Buck has to admit that "one of the first" is a vague description. It sets no boundaries. "One of the first" could mean "one of the first three" or "one of the first 100."
"Floyd blowed a tire on the last lap, but his car was still one of the first to cross the finish line in the Swampscum 300 race," Gopher said.
"It appeared to me that he finished next to last in a field of 15 cars," Buck said.
"Yeah," Gopher said. "He finished in the first 14."
Sherman Grant finished last in his souped-up Yugo.
Send questions for Buck to Gene Owens, 1004 Cobbs Glen Drive, Anderson, SC 29621 or e-mail BucksEnglish
@aol.com. Please let Buck know what town you're from.