Last words are weirdly fascinating.
The people who know they’re going to die or are dying often say something profound. As a last words connoisseur, I appreciate the effort some people put into choosing their parting statements.
François Rabelais said: “I owe much; I have nothing; the rest I leave to the poor.” That’s a cute way of letting the doctor and his creditors down easy. When Oscar Wilde died in 1900, his last words were, “Either that wallpaper goes or I do” which is both clever and gay, much like Oscar.
Most premeditated last words are more conventional though, like, “I love you” or “By the way, I cut you out of my will a few years back.”
The best last words are the ones from people who had no idea they were about to die, and were just talking about mundanities. Typical last words from these people are: “This doesn’t taste right.” or “Hold my beer and watch this!”
Either way, it’s like a tiny autobiography, isn’t it?
Now some people just say rock-star cool things all day, so any statement that’s typical of them will make great last words, even though they didn’t bother planning in advance. Take Robert Roy MacGregor, the outlaw from Scotland. His last words were: “Boy! Fetch my fiddle!”
If I’d died this afternoon, my last words would have been, “I think I got Cheetos crumbs in my keyboard. Hear them crunch when I type?” which makes me think maybe I should plan out my last words. Nothing occurs to me at the moment, but I can use “Boy! Fetch my fiddle!” until I think up my own memorable statement.
As a side note, I read this thing the other day about death row inmates’ last words, and there were quite a few who hadn’t given any thought to what they would say until their execution was actually underway. Doesn’t that seem bizarre? You’ve got to figure, you’re on death row, so it’s somewhat probable that your health might soon take a turn for the worse. And it’s not like there’s a lot to do in prison anyway so maybe selecting your last words would be a nice activity to while away the time. I guess planning skills weren’t their thing.
The one that stuck out most to me was a guy called Darick Demorris Walker, who got lethal injection in Virginia. He watched the prison officials fumbling around with their gadgets for awhile before getting everything ready to go. He was given the chance to make a final statement. He accepted and said, “I don’t think y’all done this right, took y’all too long to hook it up. You can print that. That’s it.”
I’m guessing Darick Demorris did something pretty awful since he was executed for his crimes, but I can’t help feeling there is some good in a person who literally used his very last breath to tell the government how incompetent it is.