September 30, 2009

Addressing The Small Things

Several months ago, I ran across an article on famous people's last words.  I thought last words were reserved for tombstones, like "I Told Them I Was Sick", but I guess I was wrong.  As it turns out, more than a couple of books have been written containing people's last words.  I guess the authors went around and found people who happened to be near the famous dying person and asked them what they said before they checked out. Some of the quotes are quite grandiose, which makes me suspect that the real final utterances were tampered with for publication.  Others though, have that "real" quality, so you're pretty certain that they weren't altered. Take FDR, whose last words were "I have a terrific headache". And still others are in that middle ground, where you don't know whether or not to believe them. Supposedly, Humphrey Bogart said "I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis", but I don't know ... If he'd said "Gimme another cigarette", I'd have believed that, no problem.

Anyway, the further I got into these quotes, the less famous the people became.  Like who the hell is Richard Feynman, and why should I care if his last words were "I'd hate to die twice.  It's so boring"?  Maybe if I'm Dick's wife, I care.  Otherwise, not so much.  So then I began musing (I love to muse), what if my blog becomes famous after I die, kind of like Van Gogh's paintings? Maybe some author will come searching for Jan and start bugging her about what prolific words I spoke just before I started my dirt nap (hey, this could happen).  She'd better be ready with some snappy quote that will live through the ages.

As it turns out this is no easy task.  I want something that's clever, piquant, droll and solemn that rolls off the tongue easily.  The best thing I've come up with is something I coined just before my big op 18 years ago where a fiendish surgeon rearranged all of my indoor plumbing and when I recovered I found out that I couldn't burp anymore which still pisses me off to this very day.  But that's another story.  Just before they gassed me, I told Jan "See you on the flip side", which I made up on the fly and thought was pretty good.  So good, that I've used it as my standard on all procedures requiring me to lose consciousness ever since.

Good, but I don't think it meets the criteria I've outlined above.  I thought about "I regret that I have but one life to give for my country", but I think that's been taken and I don't want my rep as a world class blogger tarnished by plagiarism.

And it would be just my luck that I would come up with a killer tag line and then die accidentally, giving me no prep time to clear my throat and utter my soon-to-be-famous quote.  Instead, I'd probably say something like "Oh Shit" or "Fuck me", which aren't really suitable for general publication, but if you took a poll of dead people, you would probably find that more than 50 percent of them uttered one of those two phrases right before the lights went out.

So, to cover my bases, I'd better have a good final quote and a good tombstone quote.  I'm still working on the quote, but I think I've got the tombstone nailed.

Silent At Last

You have to admit it.  That's tombstone gold!

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