At a recent dinner party, we briefly discussed Steve Jobs’ last words. As reported by his sister Mona Simpson in the New York Times they were “OH WOW, OH WOW, OH WOW.” My take is that his words reflected a mystical experience. Another dinner guest suggested that Steve Jobs was the ultimate marketer and well aware that his last words would be documented and publicized. My cynical friend suggested that the words were conscious and planned. Others believe that DMT (Dimethyltriptamine) released by the pineal gland, creating hallucinogenic arousal, accounted for Jobs’ words. Whether his words indicate a biological explanation of the afterlife, or were his chosen tagline, they are haunting.
The Internet carries hundreds of last words, some from deathbeds, some spoken days before actual death. Below is a recounting of my favorites. Some seem to reflect the essence of the individual and their work, some seem conscious and even self conscious, and some may have been erroneously reported or edited in order to create a legacy.
… the fog is rising. — Emily Dickinson
Why are you weeping? Did you imagine that I was immortal? — Louis XIV
Does nobody understand? –- James Joyce
Don’t let it end like this. Tell them I said something… — Pancho Villa
Codeine …bourbon. — Tallulah Bankhead
It is well, I die hard, but I am not afraid to go. — George Washington
Drink to me. — Pablo Picasso
Friends applaud, the comedy is over. — Ludwig van Beethoven
Why, I did not know we had quarreled. — Henry David Thoreau, when asked by his aunt if he had made his peace with God.
God bless… God damn. — James Thurber
This is no time to make new enemies. –- Voltaire, when asked on his deathbed to forswear Satan.
I should never have switched from Scotch to martinis. — Humphrey Bogart
I am not the least afraid to die. — Charles Darwin
I’ll finally get to see Marilyn. — Joe DiMaggio, talking about his former wife, Marilyn Monroe
Surprise me. — Bob Hope, spoken to his wife when asked where he wanted to be buried.
Every damn fool thing you do in this life you pay for.
— Edith Piaf
Utter nonsense. — Eleanor Roosevelt, spoken to the nurse who told her she would die when the reason God put her on earth was fulfilled.
It’s very beautiful over there. — Thomas Edison
I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have. — Leonardo da Vinci
Either that wallpaper goes, or I do. — Oscar Wilde,
We are now able to plan our last words. The website ifidie.net offers a Facebook app which allows you to leave a message that will only be posted after you die. It allows us to shift our consciousness, and to take a conscious action pertaining to our mortality. This is a redefinition of our last words. They are not the last words spoken, but the last word written and posted. What will yours be? And remember it’s not an “if” but a “when.”