Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Famous Last Words

Edmund Kean found comedy difficult.

Legend has it that at the end of his life Oscar Wilde, his sense of wit and irony undiminished by scandal, hard labor and poverty, entertained the faithful gathered around his deathbed with a final, dainty bon mot. “Either that wallpaper goes, or I do,” he is reported to have said as he took one last disapproving look around his dingy Parisian hotel room.

When asked if dying was easy by an overzealous young apprentice, the great English stage actor Edmund Kean replied with the immortal phrase, “Dying is easy, comedy is hard.”

I applaud these famous men for being so hilarious during their final moments. Even when the Grim Reaper was sitting on their faces and wiggling his dirty butt around, they found the strength to fire off zingers and depart this world with class. We could all learn from their example.

Unfortunately, my last words will probably not be very eloquent or witty. I imagine that in my final moments I’ll be too terrified of annihilation to be on my “A-Game.” My last words will probably be an embarrassing, unintelligible mess, something like, “OH NO . . . HERE COMES DE GUY!” Then, as I expire, my bully (who has been holding a menacing vigil for me in the truck) will begin praying for my soul using a Rosary he’s fashioned from garbage. The phone will ring and my bully will tell the student loan collection agency that I’m “unavailable at the moment, forever.”

So, what can I do? Perhaps I should record my final message to the world in advance, to ensure that I’m remembered fondly. Ideally, I will pass away at the age of 99 in my favorite store (Footlocker) as a result of being hugged too hard by female fans. With that in mind, let it be known for the record that my last words will be: “Only the buxom ones!”

And my legacy as a Great Man will be secure.

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