Thank you all for the help.
It all makes sense now. I did not realize the first transaction is meant to be used only for (or at least is, in practice, most commonly used only for) specifically grabbing a database handle for use in future transactions. With this common use case in mind, things started to make sense.

Securely sent with Tutanota. Get your own encrypted, ad-free mailbox:

Feb 11, 2019, 4:09 PM by
On 2019/02/11 16:25, Howard Chu wrote:
There's nothing subtle here, the doc is quite explicit. Wasting additional paragraphs
only brings complaints from users that "the docs are too big to read."

For every such complaint, Howard, I am confident that there are dozens of users who are grateful to be so guided. They are just not as strident.

Don't pamper the wrong types, please.