by Mad Dog
Even if we did utter something wonderful, what are the chances
anyone other than the dog who looked at us like we were nuts when we told him to "Go
get help, Lassie!" would ever hear it?
|| People have
uttered some very interesting last words. Right before he died, Douglas Fairbanks
declared, "I've never felt better." H.G. Wells said, "Go away...I'm all
right." Obviously they were both wrong.
They might have been delirious. Then again, they might have been
optimistic. Chances are they were really just trying to make their family and friends feel
better, much like Bill Clinton when he said, "I did not have sexual relations with
that woman" or Bill Gates when he claims not to remember any of the emails he wrote
threatening to take over the world unless everyone started using his web browser.
Apparently honesty on the deathbed is no more important than it is during life.
Theres little question that wed
all like to say something truly memorable before we go, but few of us get the opportunity.
Even if we did utter something wonderful, what are the chances anyone other than the dog
who looked at us like we were nuts when we told him to "Go get help, Lassie!"
would ever hear it?
One way to make sure people hear what you
say is to become a condemned murderer since they always get the opportunity to speak some
last words. And theres invariably at least one reporter on hand to write them down.
This, along with the obligatory movie of the week deal, marriage proposals that come in
the mail, and free last meal of your choice, makes it a career choice worth considering
for those who arent ready for community college or have flunked out of nail
Theres another type of famous last
words those which we wish we hadnt said. In 1927 Harry Warner, one of
the famous Warner Brothers, asked "Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?".
|| Right before
being executed, Gary Gilmore simply said, "Lets do it." James Rodges, when
asked if he wanted anything as he was facing a firing squad replied, "Why yesa
bulletproof vest." And George Appel had the right attitude as he was about to get
strapped in the electric chair when he declared, "Well, gentlemen, you are about to
see a baked Appel." Last words are like comedy: timing is everything.
There are a number of considerations to make when
formulating your last words. For one, ultimatums arent a good idea. Oscar Wilde
tried this when he said, "Either that wallpaper goes, or I do" and since there
wasnt a Home Depot in Paris at the time, well, Oscar went.
You should try not to sound bitter when you
utter your last words. Neither should you be a smart aleck. Remember, this is your final
stab at immortality and that old saying is true: You never get a second chance to speak
your last words. Another about-to-be-executed killer, Thomas J. Grasso, followed both of
these rules when he matter-of-factly set the record straight about his last meal by
saying, "I did not get my Spaghetti-O's, I got spaghetti. I want the press to know
Theres another type of famous last
wordsthose which we wish we hadnt said. These are especially problematic
because we continue to live, meaning were saddled with them forever. In 1927 Harry
Warner, one of the famous Warner Brothers, asked "Who the hell wants to hear actors
talk?". Thats something every Senate subcommittee chairman asks to this day
when Hollywood stars parade in front of them pretending to be experts on foreign affairs
because they slept with the French co-star of their last movie or claiming to know
everything about atomic energy because they auditioned for a part in China Syndrome.
This is the last rule of famous last words, one which Pancho Villa forgot about when he
was clutching onto a comrade and said, "Don't let it end like this. Tell them I said
|| People utter
these foot-in-mouth last words all the time. I suspect Minnesotas Hubert
"Skip" Humphrey said something like, "But the guys a wrestler, fer
Christs sake", when he heard that Jess "The Body" Ventura was going
to run against him in the recent governors race. Of course Ventura is a
wrestler. Hes also going to be the states new governor, proving once again
that a good nickname is important if you want to win an election.
Then theres Dr. Laura Schlessinger, whose
ratings and obnoxiousness has unseated Rush Limbaugh in the syndicated radio circuit. I
can envision her years ago saying, "Sure you can take some photographs of me naked.
Who would want to see them anyway?". How fateful those words would have been now that
a judge ruled that Internet Entertainment, the same people who posted Tommy and Pamela
Anderson Lees honeymoon video online, can put Dr. Lauras photos there too. Of
course this still doesnt answer her question: Who does want to see her naked?
What these peoples last words will be
on their deathbed remains to be heard. Hopefully theyll think of something
beforehand to make sure theyre prepared. This is the last rule of famous last words,
one which Pancho Villa forgot about when he was clutching onto a comrade and said,
"Don't let it end like this. Tell them I said something." Isnt that the
same thing Harpo Marx said?
©1998 Mad Dog Productions, Inc. All
These columns appear in better newspapers across the country. Now
those may be famous last words.