PATSY R. BRUMFIELD: Last words sublime or ridiculous?

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

Rosebud.” The immortal last words of Charles Foster Kane, famously played by Orson Welles in the movie classic, “Citizen Kane.”
Frankly if you don’t stay awake through the whole thing, those words kind of lose their punch.
Earlier this week, iconic Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ sister said his last words were “Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow.”
Those syllables will be open to interpretation for years to come.
Here’s a brilliant man who calculated every move, especially on stage when he introduced electronics which changed our world.
From what you read, he was a meticulous manager who insisted upon perfection.
Should we think that he didn’t consider what his finals breaths would offer?
“Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow.” Was it real or did he just want to force some of us to conjecture about it?
Do you have similar foresight? Would you say something profound, sentimental or enigmatic?
Upon his deathbed, American founding father John Adams is remembered to say, “Thomas Jefferson – still survives.” His rival died on the same day, July 4, 1826, reportedly inquiring at his last, “Is it the Fourth?”
Not so romantic
Among unromantic last phrases is one credited to plant scientist Luther Burbank, who said logically, “I don’t feel good.”
And “Mind your own business,” by English painter-author Wyndham Lewis, in answer to his nurse’s query about his bowels.
Rocker Terry Alan Kath told a fellow “Chicago” band member, “Don’t worry, it’s not loaded,” as he held a 9-mm pistol to his head. The single bullet left the chamber and killed him instantly.
Writer Dylan Thomas reportedly boasted, “I have just had 18 whiskeys in a row. I do believe that is a record.”
When asked to forswear Satan on his deathbed, French philosopher Voltaire remarked, “This is no time to make new enemies.”
Perhaps Jobs was thinking more about profound last words like abolitionist Henry Ward Beecher’s “Now comes the mystery.”
Or of the lack of preparation by Mexico freedom fighter Pacho Villa, who said, “Don’t let it end like this. Tell them I said something.”
Or Scottish economist Adam Smith’s quip, “I believe we should adjourn this meeting to another place.”
If Jobs premeditated his last words, he surely did his own research for ideas, although he certainly could be relied upon intellectually to make his own final choice.
Concluding what would be his last news conference, Elvis said, “I hope I haven’t bored you.”
Jobs’ “Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow” goes beyond imagination.
Patsy R. Brumfield writes a Thursday column and has not yet considered her last words. “Tomorrow is another day,” she said. Contact her at

Click video to hear audio