Monday, December 07, 2020

Order Up

 Sometimes it just takes a headline. Or a photograph. A few words or a picture can set off an avalanche of thought and emotion. This one was a little click bait that included a snapshot of Ted Bundy with the legend, "What would you choose for your last meal?"

First of all, I have just a couple degrees of separation from Mister Bundy. Long about the time the convicted killer was still busy going to trials and hearings and escaping from jails, my older brother had the distinction of ferrying from one courtroom to the next. As an officer of the law, he once mentioned that he had only twice encountered true evil. One of those encounters was with Ted Bundy. He was not involved in the serving of Bundy's last meal. That distinction came to the staff of the Florida State Prison in Raiford. They brought him a medium-rare steak, eggs over easy, hash browns, toast with butter and jelly, milk, and juice. Not because he chose it, but because that's the meal you get if you decline to state your preference. Then they electrocuted him. 

Which seems like a pretty solid waste of a medium-rare steak, eggs over easy, hash browns, toast with butter and jelly, milk, and juice. Which dovetails nicely with the conceit of swabbing the arm of the convicted with alcohol just before giving them a lethal injection. You wouldn't want them to get an infection, after all. 

I used to have a pretty set notion of what I would ask for my last meal. A double cheeseburger, steak fries, and a Coke. After the age of thirty, it seemed like a pretty tragic life that would end with a final supper straight off the menu from Red Robin. Which makes me wonder what someone cresting the hill toward sixty might request. Because of the nature of death row and its accompanying appeals process, the average wait to be shot, zapped or put to sleep is about sixteen years. This means that a lot of folks who find themselves in this predicament a) have a lot of time to consider their last meal and b) might die of natural causes without ever having a chance to place that order. 

Which makes me want to believe in an afterlife that would provide you with loads of Lobster Thermidor and stacks of Baked Alaska. Because it seems like a pretty nasty trick that you have to be a truly evil person, by my own brother's account, to have the chance to pick that last meal. Maybe in Heaven it's always Taco Tuesday. 

If that's your bag. 

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