Last Words of the Day

In a profile of Roald Dahl, author of The BFG (one of my favorite stories of youth), there's this note on his last words before death:

The endings of Dahl’s stories are almost always surprising, even when we know the twist is coming. This talent, it turns out, applied equally to the author’s own life. In a hospital, surrounded by family, Dahl reassured everyone, sweetly, that he wasn’t afraid of death. “It’s just that I will miss you all so much,” he said—the perfect final words. Then, as everyone sat quietly around him, a nurse pricked him with a needle, and he said his actual last words: “Ow, fuck!”

Wonderful. (Thanks to Chris Yeh for the pointer.)

Speaking of last words, look at the power editors wield. The New Yorker's truly moving piece on the (apparently unjust) execution of Cameron Willingham closes with Willingham's last words:

The only statement I want to make is that I am an innocent man convicted of a crime I did not commit. I have been persecuted for twelve years for something I did not do. From God’s dust I came and to dust I will return, so the Earth shall become my throne.

Except those weren't all of his last words. His full statement made a couple references to his ex-wife:

Yeah. The only statement I want to make is that I am an innocent man-convicted of a crime I did not commit. I have been persecuted for 12 years for something I did not do. From God's dust I came and to dust I will return-so the earth shall become my throne. I gotta go, road dog. I love you Gabby. I hope you rot in hell, bitch; I hope you fucking rot in hell, bitch. You bitch; I hope you fucking rot, cunt. That is it.

5 Responses to Last Words of the Day

  1. Chris Yeh says:

    Let’s not forget Dylan Thomas’ famous last words:

    “I’ve had eighteen straight whiskies, I think that’s the record.”

    Or how about Pancho Villa:

    “Don’t let it end like this. Tell them I said something.”

    Something tells me that if I am unfortunate enough to die someday, my last words are likely to either be “Let’s see what happens” or “Whoops!”

  2. Jose says:

    I just hope my last words aren’t “Damn, I was wrong.”

  3. Krishna says:

    For most, the preferred words could be “Enough of dilemma whether it’s gonna be a double dip depression or a hyper-inflation ahead…Now it’s for you the living to figure it out and if not as lucky as me, to live through it…From tomorrow, no newspapers for me…”

  4. Jude says:

    John Green, one of the best young adult authors writing today, collects Last Words. One of his characters *also* collects last words. John vlogged about them on YouTube. Famous Last Words
    link to
    I recommend his books as well as the Vlogbrothers channel. link to

    John Green is amazing. His latest is about word mis-usage: link to It’s wonderful.

  5. link to

    I always liked that Jack Handey quote: I hope that after I die, people will say of me, “Man, that guy sure owed me a lot of money.”

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