Monday, June 13, 2011

Funniest Last Words, Deathbed Witticisms

Funniest Last Words, Deathbed Witticisms

Steven Wright once said that he wished the first word he spoke was "quote." Then, right before he died he could say, "Unquote." While that would be the greatest last word ever uttered, we have to be realistic here and admit no one could be that cool, lest the universe implode. Nonetheless, here are some valiant efforts worth remembering, last words such as:

1. "This is no time to make new enemies."


These are supposedly the last words of the philosopher Voltaire, uttered when a priest asked him to renounce Satan. Voltaire had been a critic of the church for years and, according to some accounts, his last words, directed at a priest, were actually an angry cry: "For God's sake, let me die in peace!"

Apparently back in the day, the church wouldn't even let you die on your own terms. And it sure as heck wouldn't bury you in its cemetery after such a deathbed quote. Which is exactly why Voltaire's friends, in a final ironic twist, snuck in and buried his corpse in the Abbey of Scellières. Take that, church!

2. "My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or the other of us has to go."

Oscar Wilde said these last words, referring to the walls of a French hotel where he eventually passed away. What better final quote for a man who debated about the meaning of beauty and art for the better part of his life? However, whereas the first round was won by the wallpaper, in the end, Oscar Wilde fans tore the place apart and refurnished it in the style of a British flat. We like to imagine that somewhere in heaven Oscar Wilde was laughing manically as a mob armed with torches burned the offending French wall decoration.

3. "How's this for a headline? 'French Fries.'"

These are the last words of James D. French, just before he was executed via the electric chair. Get it? We'll take a break here, so everyone can re-read that joke and truly appreciate its genius. But, whereas we love a good pun as much as the next guy, the true reason this sentence is remarkable is the length to which Mr. French went to get himself executed. He was the last man to be sentenced to death in Oklahoma and the only person to get the electric chair in all of the U.S. in the year 1966. In fact, his original sentence was life in prison, but Mr. French then murdered his cellmate, allowing him to share his joke, and the rest of the world to groan at one lousy pun. It's a win-win scenario ... sort of.

4. "One last drink, please."

Jack Daniel said these words just seconds before dying from a blood infection -- a problem that started when one morning he kicked his safe in anger and broke his toe. The moral of the story, printed on a 2006 marketing poster is: You should never go to work early in the morning. We think a better moral is: Use some of the whiskey you're producing by the gallons to disinfect your toe before it kills you. But, you know, that's just us.

5. "... and now for a final word from our sponsor ..."

Not many people remember Charles J. Gussman, but he was the brains behind countless old-school radio shows, as well as the show "Days of Our Lives" -- and even some episodes of "Gilligan's Island." Gussman lived for media and went out the same way he ended most of his shows, placing the spotlight on whoever bankrolled his show.

6. "They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance."

Just one out of countless morbidly ironic last remarks, this one belongs to General John Sedgwick, who was trying to encourage his troops during the Civil War. If you can't predict what happened seconds after he finished saying this, you've never seen a comedy sketch. Suffice it to say that his troops were extremely motivated -- if by "motivated." you mean scared sh**less because they just saw their leader sniped by the enemy.

7."Only you have ever understood me ... and you got it wrong."

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
was just one of the many philosophers who tried to create a logical system that would encompass all of existence. Apparently, he came pretty close. But, no one could follow his logic for long enough to make any sense of his claims about the universe. These were his last words to his favorite student before dying and leaving hundreds of philosophy majors to wonder what exactly he meant in his books. After which, they wondered what the hell they are going to do with a philosophy degree.

8."Leave the shower curtain on the inside of the tub."

When you ask someone like Conrad N. Hilton, the man behind the Hilton Hotel Empire, if he has any final wisdom to share with the world, well, you kinda expect something a tad bit more profound than stuff your mom told you every time you took a shower. Then again, this is the family that gave birth to Paris Hilton, so maybe this isn't so bad after all.

9."I should never have switched from scotch to martinis."

Humphrey Bogart was the equivalent of Harrison Ford, George Clooney and Johnny Depp all rolled up into one stone-cold, rugged piece of pure awesomeness. For someone as manly as he, there was no other way to end it all but denounce mixed, fruity drinks and join Jack Daniel in ordering another glass of good old whiskey, be it Scottish or American. We can only raise our glasses and join in a toast -- a toast to all the memorable, funny last words ever uttered.

Funniest Last Words, Deathbed Witticisms -

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