Friday, April 22, 2005

Last Words

"Love To Let You Down" - Life Of Agony

The movies have convinced us that convicts' last moments are thick with emotion. Witnesses weeping as prison guards solemnly go about their doleful duty. The prisoner in the chair begs for his life. The newspaper headline reads: "Rocky Dies Yellow Killer Coward At End."

But reel death is very different from real life.

Wednesday night, down in Huntsville, Texas, convicted murderer Douglas Roberts, 42, was executed for killing a man during a drug-induced haze nine years ago. The Associated Press reports that Roberts was upbeat and animated right up until the lethal drugs were administered.

"I've been hanging around this popsicle stand way too long," he defiantly said. "When I die, bury me deep, lay two speakers at my feet, put some headphones on my head and rock 'n' roll me when I'm dead. "I'll see you in heaven some day." Yeah, we'll see.

Some prisoners actually seem to welcome their executions. After years of confinement and appeals, they're certainly prepared for it. And then they're asked if they have any last words. You bet they do. They've had all that time to come to terms with the terms they'll use to say goodbye, cruel world.

George Appel, executed by electric chair in New York, 1928: "Well, gentlemen, you are about to see a baked Appel."

James French, executed by electric chair in Oklahoma, 1966: "How about this for a headline for tomorrow's paper? 'French fries.' "

Frederick Charles Wood, executed by electric chair in New York, 1963: "Gents, this is an educational project. You are about to witness the damaging effect of electricity has on Wood."

John Spenkelink, executed by electric chair in Florida, 1979: "Capital punishment: Them without the capital get the punishment."

Jesse Walter Bishop, executed in Nevada's gas chamber, 1979: "I've always wanted to try everything once. ... Let's go."

James Rodges, on his final request before facing a firing squad: "Why, yes -- a bulletproof vest."

Thomas J. Grasso, executed by electric chair in Oklahoma, 1987: "I did not get my Spaghetti-O's. I got spaghetti. I want the press to know this."

Jimmy Glass, executed by electric chair in Louisiana, 1987: "I'd rather be fishing."

The movies skew our view of last words. People on the silver screen tend to say something deep and meaningful before the fade to black.

"Rosebud."
"The, uh, stuff that dreams are made of."
"Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."
"I'll be right here."
"There's no place like home."
"Home. I'll go home, and I'll think of some way to get him back. After all, tomorrow is another day."
"Made it Ma! Top of the world!"
"That's right, that's right. Attaboy, Clarence."
"The drama's done. All are departed away. The great shroud of the sea rolls over the Pequod, her crew, and Moby Dick. I only am escaped, alone, to tell thee."
"I used to hate the water."
"I can't imagine why."

Some of the sweetest words of parting are the funniest.

H.G. Wells: "Go away. I'm all right."
Dylan Thomas: "Seventeen whiskeys. A record, I think."
Humphrey Bogart: "I never should have switched from scotch to martinis."
Oscar Wilde: "Either that wallpaper goes or I do."
Pancho Villa: "Don't let it end like this. Tell them I said something."
And Karl Marx left us with: "Go on, get out! Last words are for fools who haven't said enough!"

My favorite, however, might be Marc Bolan of T. Rex at the fade-out of the group's song "Bang a Gong. (Get it on.)": Meanwhile, I'm still thinking ...

___________________

This came from Dan Majors of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, not me. Good stuff that deserved to be posted!

1 Comments:

At 1:22 AM, Blogger Quit Smoking said...

Hello fellow fisherman,

Did you know that 16% of the U.S. population goes fishing at least 16 days a year?

Did you also know that over 75% of the nations fishermen do not fish during "prime time"; fish feeding hours?

Those precious few moments before twilight can be absolutely magical. Even up until 11pm at night, the largest predators of any species feed ravenously.

Don't believe me? Check out Daniel Eggertsen's story, and a picture of a couple of his catches here : "Evening Secrets plus more"

I want you to do me a favor and try it out so I can see what you think of it, and if it works for you as well as it did for me.

You will be one of the first to try it out.

Gone Fishin',

Neil

 

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