The Art Of Last Words

Aug 31, 2011

The obituaries in The New York Times are often the best things in the paper even if you had never heard of the deceased. I recently was transfixed by one about a table tennis player named Geroge Hendry who had two completely discrete playing careers -- he quit in 1952 and came back in 1976 -- and was one of the early athletes on the Wheaties box, for which is he got $25 a month and "an avalanches of free cereal for several years." He hated the term ping pong. I could go on. The story of a death is the story of a life, often compressed to take in only the most interesting points.

Today we're looking at obits, last words and epitaphs. I'm pretty sure epitaphs are a dying art. Last words ...well everybody who dies has a last thing they say. I almost can't believe George Bernard Shaw said "Dying is easy, comedy is hard." If nobody ever said anything else cool for all of human history, that one alone should sustains us.

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***This show originally aired on August 31st, 2011***