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I've been thinking about last words a lot lately. Not my own, mind you. I plan to live a long and healthy life, so my own last words are far from my mind right now. Besides, knowing me, my last words will most likely be something like, "See? I told you I was sick!"
No, I'm talking the historical last words. You know, the well-known utterances of famous types, those last little nuggets of wisdom spoken just before they slid off into the inky blackness of the Great Beyond. For instance, Andrew Jackson is reported to have said "I hope I may meet you all later in Heaven" with his last gasps of breath to his assembled family members and servants. Profound. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, after days of fever-induced confusion, had a final moment of lucidity and said, "Let us cross over the bridge, and rest under the shade of the trees a while." Deep.
The reason I've been thinking about last words is, what would happen if someone uttered what they thought were their last words, then didn't die right away? Wouldn't that put them in something of a pickle?
I mean, think about it: Here you are, prepared to meet your maker, and so you say the final words of your life, knowing someone will note them and judge your life in part upon their profundity. You've practiced these words your whole life, crafting them as your sickness progressed, until you were finally convinced they were final words for the ages, poetic in their lyricism and yet profound for their simplicity. Feeling that special cold chill, you say these special words, then rest your head gently on your pillow waiting for the Angel to Death to come claim you...only to realize the chill was because some idiot left your window open. Ah, shit. Now what?
The problem now is what do you do with your final words, or any further words for that matter? Do you lay in your bed, mute, waiting for death to finally overcome you so your last words will, in fact, be your last words? God forbid you actually recover, though. You'd run the risk of people forgetting your little speech altogether, then being put on the spot to come up with something equally wise.
Do you speak again, running the risk that death ambush you and your last words is something stupid, like "I'll take marmalade," because the nurse just happened to ask you what you'd like on your toast that morning? Not like you'd be remembered for your poetic so called-last words, so instead your life in this case would be forever linked to a tasty jam-like concoction.
Or do you try to trot out the same old soliloquy the next time you feel death approaching and hope no one notices? This, to my mind, would be something like wearing the same pair of underwear too many days in a row, and people would be just as likely to notice. I rather think they'd even be a tad pissed, and demand something better, like an audience who paid to see Shakespeare and instead is shown the local high school's spring play.
Just imagine the picture. Stonewall recovers briefly, but again slides deep into a deadly fever. Feeling death creeping upon him, he gathers his friends, family, and staff near, and whispers, "Let us pass--" only to have someone say, "Yes, yes. We've heard that one before. Give us something fresh this time, Tom!"
Final words seem a bit trickier than we give them credit for being. Our ancestors must have been on the ball at all times, ever-prepared with something full of both personal and global meaning, because life back then was precarious at best.
Still, you have to admit there is a certain romance of the final words, unforeseen difficulties and all. Maybe they had it right all along. Of course, there's no reason we necessarily need to follow all the musty, dusty traditions of those earlier ages, with final words dripping with significance and wisdom. Screw that shit, let's liven it up a little!
Why not say sit up suddenly and say, "Duck!" for no particular reason? If you're not in the playful mood, you could always go with the ever popular, "Shit, I forgot to pay the insurance." That one's always sure to be memorable. If you feel like kicking off a little family controversy, you could turn to the closest relative and whisper, "Why did you poison me?" Or, for those of a darker mind, you can always point to a far corner and scream "Who is that black skeleton with the giant scythe?!!" Perhaps better only to do that if no one with you has a heart condition, however, or else there may be two funerals to plan.
But in the end (no pun intended) I guess it's not so much we say to our loved ones upon our death; it's what we say to them throughout our lives. And that, my friends, is the last word
So what? The simple fact of the matter is that the economy has sucked before and will suck again in the future. We, as people, have a terrible habit of focusing on a situation that his naturally time-limited and viewing it as if it is a permanent thing. So, in this case, we see a weak worldwide economy, few job prospects, and diminishing returns on investments and think this is the way it will be forever. But it is not. Things change; change, in fact, is the only steady in life. This isn't Polly Anna-like optomism either, its just realisitic thinking. Things change, and this too will change.
But in a far larger point of view, what does it matter anyway? We have little control over these things, and the simple fact of the matter is that all of the goodies and gadgets we seem to crave so much are nothing but pieces of junk anyway, destined to dust, decay, and destruction. The only things in this world that really, truly matter are the relationships we can make with other people, the love we give the world, the good we can do with what time we have, and the faith in God we can share with others.
No economy, no matter how foul, can ever take that away.
Let me rant here quickly about the oil companies. What the fuck is wrong with these bastards? Apparently its not nearly enough for them to fuck with the environment, which they've done wonderfully well. Nor is it enough to fuck us all out of as much money as possible with the ridiculous price of gas recently. Apparently they won't be happy until the nation is so dependent upon foreign oil -- oil, by the way, that is controled by nations and organizations that want to see people like you and me die very painful deaths -- that when they decide to pull the plug on our oil consumption we will shrivle up and die.
There is the technology, the minds, and the will to develop alternative forms of energy such that we are no longer dependent on foreign oil. This would benefit the environment, the economy, and national security. But what do you think is the greatest impediment to fully developing these alternatives? The oil companies! These fuckers are so concerned about lost revenues that they would rather wreck the environment, economy, and the nation rather than miss a buck or two. I tell you, people, there is a room somewhere filled with very fat, very rick men laughing their assess off at us because we are spening so much money on their filthy product. I tell you, these folks are the very definition of scum on earth!
What to know what I hate?! I'll tell you. I hate mega corporations that so insidiously make themselves part of the American culture that the average person thinks they have to use their shitty products with no thought to that corporation's impact on the environment, the economy, or worker rights. I despise corporations so infected with the sickness of greed that they'll do business with anyone, anywhere, regardless of any thoughts of right or wrong.
Specifically, I hate McDonald's, Wal-Mart, and Disney. This is the real Axis of Evil in the world, the trifecta of everything despicable in the business world. And, sadly, its where millions of Americans eat, shop, and turn to for mind-numbing entertainment every single day.
Has one every really considered what McDonald's has to offer? Greasy, unhealthful crap dressed up as a quick treat and marketed to children as the only possible way in which their parents could ever show love for them. But what is it, really? Its flesh cooked in its own fat, fat that, in only a matter of years, will stop up your arteries and kill you. Its stale buns, soggy lettuce, and infecteed chicken. And all for a price that is so far above what you're actually getting that if the food doesn't make you vomit the way in which the stockholders are fucking you over certainly will. Mmmmm, sounds delicious, doesn't it?!
However, as if it weren't enough just to fuck with American's gastro-intestinal systems, McDonalds won't be happy until they fuck over the envronment itself. Know how everyone is concerned about the rain forests in South America getting raped all the time? Well, for whom do you think much of that land is being cleared to make way for more cattle grazing pasture and wheat growing area? I'll give you a hint: I'm lovin' it (IT being fucking over the entire world in one fell swoop)
I could go on about Mickey Dee's, but I have other fat fuckers to piss off. What can we say about Wal-Mart? How about this: They'll get their shit from anyone, regardless of whether it was made by slave labor or not, they'll sell it to you for about a hundred times what they paid for, it'll wear out, break, fall apart, fade, or otherise become useless about a week after you bought the piece of shit, then they'll fuck you over AGAIN when you try to return it. Once again, there are a bunch of fat, rich stockholders somewhere laughing their asses off at you because they know they got America by the balls and they can do whatever they fucking feel like.
And once again, as if fucking over the consumer weren't enough, they have to fuck over their own employees too! These people work terrible hours, doing terrible work, for terrible pay, recieve no health insurance, have little job assurance, and get fired regularly for no reason at all other than to keep all the other sheep employed there terrified. Sad thing is, this is the only thing that many people who work at Wal-Mart can manage, so what this corporate giant is doing is basically putting their obligation to provide stable employment and health insurance on to you, because these folks are getting state funded insurance...which is paid for by taxes. Fat greedy fuckers!
Then there is Disney, the criminal genius of this despicable trifecta (BTW, have you noticed how these three fuckers are in bed together? McDonalds sells more shit when they give away a shitty little toy that has something to do with Disney, more stupid little fuckers go see that movie, while all the while Wal-Mart sells the same shit...and let's not forget the fact that there are many McDonald's in Wal-Marts now. Fuckers.) Disney is the King Pimp of these evil businesses, the Hitler to these Mussolini and Tojo wanna-bes. Satan gets up in the morning and wishes he could be more like Disney Corp.
Is there an aspect of American entertainment/information industry in which Disney is not involved? They make movies, then make products based upon the movies, then throw out a few DVD only movies, then get their other businesses involved, all the to make them as rich as possible while fucking you out of as much money as possible. And for what? Lousy, predictable movies (Plot to all Disney movies: Good kid faces challenge from bad kid, good kid persevers, someone gets kicked in the balls, good kid wins; wow, that's like, totally deep, dude). Once again, we have a mega corporation -- one that also fucks over their own people -- that screws you out of tons of money for a shitty, wothless product, then markets it as if you owe them something for the service. That would be like getting butt raped, then being charged for it. Like getting shot in the head and charged for the bullet.
Stand up to these fuckers! Knowledge is power, and the more you know about these bastards the worse they look. Free your minds of their shackles, the ones that make you think it is required of every good American to eat greasy food, shop in mega stores for cheap shit, and take vacation at an over-rated theme park hosted by a giant rat. Resist! Defy! Fight back! Spread the word, and start the Revolution!!