Last words are weirdly fascinating. Sometimes they sum up the person’s essence in a few words, other times they seem wildly out of character.
Though in Hollywood, last words are uniformly ridiculous (see Point Break), real life last words can be deeply moving, funny, sad, cruel…
Most last words are conventional like, “I love you” or “By the way, I cut you out of my will a few years back.”
Let’s examine some others.
Witty farewells. François Rabelais said: “I owe much; I have nothing; the rest I leave to the poor.” Which is a cute way of letting his creditors down easy.
When Oscar Wilde died in 1900, his last words were, “Either that wallpaper goes or I do” which is clever and gay, much like Oscar.
As Sir Walter Raleigh waited to be beheaded, he looked at the axe and said, “It is a sharp medicine, but a sure cure for all ills.”
Beautiful farewells. George Harrison said, “Love one another.” Bo Diddley’s last words were, “I’m goin’ to heaven! I’m comin’ home.”
But far more intriguing are the last words of the total jerk. Karl Marx’ parting words were: “Go on, get out! Last words are for fools who haven’t said enough!”
Joan Crawford, who was a delight by anyone’s standards, hissed: “Damn it! Don’t you dare ask God to help me!”