You’re dying.

“Life is hell, most people are bastards and everything is bullshit.” So said George Black, father of Conrad Black (Lord Black of Crossharbour – the greatest gothic name for a Lord ever – currently just about proprietor of the Daily Telegraph), right before he had a seizure and fell through a balustrade and down some stairs.

It’s a story that may well be mentioned a few time this week, as Lord Black suffers from a few “problems”. This leads me to the subject of famous last words. Some people do them and some people don’t. And it’s not just a function of how you die.

The thing about famous last words is this. Most really famous people die young. They manage to snuff it before they embarrass themselves. And generally if you die young you die unexpectedly. The unexpected death is not terrible conducive to “famous last words”. Lots of infamous last words. JFK said “That’s obvious” in response to a comment that everyone in Dallas love him. Saying “that’s obvious” while somebody shoots you is not generally regarded as smart. Although in reality it’s more unlucky than stupid.

There have been lots of good ones through the years. Loads of them. But imagine the situation. You’re dying. You know you’re dying. Do you keep saying the phrase you’ve settled on every time you feel a bit faint?

Imagine saying something great, then going “you know what? I’m feeling a lot better.” Just before you snuff it. You would be so embarrassed.

There is one famous last phrase that particularly appeals to me even though I’m not sure about the sentiment. Although I certainly am if he was talking about it’s modern form. I shall leave you with it.

Nurse: (Adjusting the pillows) Is there anything still troubling you?
Patient: Yes, country music.

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