First Thoughts on Final Words

17 Jan

- Grave marker of American author and environmental advocate, Edward Alley

Have you ever thought of what you’d want your last words to be? A bit morbid, maybe, but I’d wager this question has rolled around in more minds than not.

Well, how much weight would you put on someone’s last words?  Would you choose to hold those final utterances in place of someone’s everlasting image, or shrug them off as the last firings of the neocortex before it shuts down?

Whichever way you want to kick it, below is a bucketful of last words that had a way of still-framing a life’s (last) moments, and what made them so intriguing/monumental/marvelous to begin with:

“I should have never switched from Scotch to Martinis.”

-American actor and cultural icon, Humphrey Bogart

December 25, 1899 – January 14, 1957



“I am about to – or I am going to – die: either expression is correct.”

-Famous French grammarian, Dominique Bouhours

May 15, 1628 – May 27, 1702



“Oh, you young people act like old men. You have no fun.”

– Josephine Baker, singer/dancer/actress, as well as first African American female to star in a major motion picture

June 3, 1906 – April 12, 1975




“Now I can cross the Shifting Sands.”

-L. Frank Baum, author of The Wizard of Oz

May 15, 1856 – May 6, 1919

(Note: Baum was referring to the Shifting Sands, the impassable desert surrounding the Land of Oz)


“Dammit… Don’t you dare ask God to help me!”

-American film actress, Joan Crawford

March 23, 1905 – May 10, 1977

(Note: This comment was directed to her housekeeper who began to pray aloud)



“Die, my dear? Why, that’s the last thing I’ll do!”

-American comedian and master of wit, Groucho Marx

October 2, 1890 – August 19, 1977




“All compound things are subject to breaking up. Strive on with mindfulness.”

-Siddhartha Gautama Buddha, spiritual leader and founder of Buddhism




“Now, now, my good man, this is not the time for making enemies.”

-Voltaire, French Enlightenment writer and philosopher

November 21, 1694 – May 30, 1778

(Note: Said when asked by a priest to renounce Satan)



“My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or the other of us has to go.”

-Oscar Wilde, Irish writer and poet

October 16, 1854 – November 30, 1900


And, most-appropriately:

“Go on, get out! Last words are for fools who haven’t said enough!”


-said by Karl Marx, German philosopher and developer of Marxism, when asked by his housekeeper for his last words

May 5, 1818 – March 14, 1883




For more lists of last words and quotes: Wiki Quotes, Brain Candy, and List Verse.


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