I Told You I Was Ill
So, how would you like to be remembered? What words of wisdom – or wit – will pass your lips as you breathe your last?
Musicians, criminals, politicians – you name it – all kinds of people have had their approach to departing this world go down in history. And they show considerable range:
American boxer Max Baer’s final utterance could suggest fear or excitement: “Oh God! Here I go.”
By contrast, Winston Churchill’s last words are said to have been: “I’m so bored with it all.”
For a selflessly practical approach, Lewis Carroll went out with: “Take away those pillows. I shall need them no more.”
Unfortunately for some, their last words prove to be ones they might have regretted. Such as John Sedgwick, an American Civil War general, who – shortly before being killed by a sniper – announced: “They couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance.”
However, one of the pithiest responses to the Grim Reaper’s approach came from Alexander Graham Bell who just said: “No.”
Although not last words as such, I’ve always liked the epitaph on Spike Milligan’s gravestone, which reads: “I told you I was ill.”
It’s a bit of a morbid subject – hopefully none of us will have to worry about how we’re remembered for a while yet – but this post was prompted by a short quiz about famous last words on the BBC’s website.
The quiz was written in response to the last words of Irish poet Seamus Heaney who died very recently. I think I scored four out of seven. See if you can do better – click here.
I’m not sure what my last words would be. Probably, something along the lines of: “I can’t go yet, I’ve got a book to finish.”