Opinion: Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated


Nancy Simpson/The Madera Tribune

Relay For Life luminaria bags are placed in honor or memory of loved ones affected by cancer. This year’s the event was a drive-by only on May 1.

Last week, my phone started ringing before I got around to looking at Saturday’s edition of The Madera Tribune. Friends whom I hadn’t seen in a while due to the coronavirus were calling and emailing to establish POL (proof of life).


When I fetched my newspaper from the mailbox, I understood their concern. There, just beneath the fold on Page 1, was a photograph of luminaria bags, honoring or memorializing loved ones who had been affected by cancer. In the forefront of the photograph were two bags which read, “In honor of Jim Glynn.”


I’ve heard that there was or maybe still is another person in Madera with whom I share a name. However, I don’t know him, and I mean no disrespect in mentioning him in this column. It was just a bit of a shock seeing my name in the context of Relay For Life as a victim of cancer.


Seeing my name on those bags was like reading an obituary. And that brings up a related subject: Last words. People are often remembered by what they say as they leave this life, and I haven’t really prepared anything.


It’s important to have something to say as one exits this stage, but too many people have left a verbal legacy that leaves much to be desired. Take Elvis Presley, for example. It would have been quite in character if he’d uttered, “Thank you, thank you very much,” as he left the stage of life. But he didn’t. He said, “I’m going to the bathroom to read.”


Instead of saying, “I did it my way,” Frank Sinatra said, “I’m losing it.” Thomas J. Grasso, who was convicted of murder and executed, only complained about his last meal: “I did not get my Spaghetti-O’s; I got spaghetti. I want the press to know this.”


W.C. Fields, the comedic actor who was not a religious man, was asked why he was reading the Bible on his death bed. He replied, “I’m looking for loopholes.” However, those were not his dying words. Just before he checked out, he said, “(bleep) the whole (bleepin’) world and everyone in it but you, Carlotta.” He was speaking to his mistress.


I’ll have to think up something for myself. That is, of course, unless I do something stupid like musician Johnny Ace, who was playing with a .32 caliber revolver when he said, “I’ll show you that it won’t shoot.”