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Davis, California

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Column: Famous last words

As comedian Groucho Marx drew his final breath, his wife wept at his side, his pale hands clenched in hers. “Oh, Groucho,” she lamented, “Please don’t die!”

“Die, my dear?” He wheezed, as life escaped him. “Why, that’s the last thing I’ll do.”

As famed gunslinger, gambler and dentist Doc Holliday lay on his deathbed in a Colorado hospital, he looked down at his bare feet, asked for a sip of whiskey and said, “Well I’ll be damned. This is funny.” He had always figured he’d be shot dead in some dusty saloon or frontier brothel, and die with his boots on.

I don’t have any good quotes from Ol’ Dirty Bastard, so I’ll go with someone with a similar soul. When asked about his plans for the afterlife, rock and roll survivor Keith Richards said, “I’ll just take three slaves with me.” Make what you will out of that last one.

Well, I’m not dying (unless you’re into that existential shit,) but this is the final column I’ll be writing for The Aggie, and so in a sense these are the last words of the long-haired, long-winded Billy Christmas.

I set out some 30 weeks ago to use my column as a means to possibly get laid, as well to chronicle my good times as a lackluster in his fifth year at UC Davis. I didn’t get around to a whole bunch of that sex, but when I sat down this week to think about all the fun I’ve had this year, I realized that the chronicling of all my good times every Thursday was one of the best times in itself.

A while back columnists got paid in American currency, but that ain’t the case no more. Instead, I felt as if all the people who wrote me e-mails asking for taco truck locations or to simply tell me they’ve been reading my columns was the real reward. (Maybe Hallmark is hiring writers. Or alcoholics, or whatever they call the people responsible for those cards.)

Anyway, I’ve had a lot of fun doing the writing aspect of this column, and I hope it’s been good for you, too. I know I usually write about my fondness of libation and the Wu-Tang Clan, but along the way I’ve also tried to express some of the wisdom I’ve gleaned from, well, Wu-Tang albums and the backs of beer bottles.

I wish I could come through with a story from this past weekend to really blow you out of the water, but I didn’t get into any knife fights, or rob any stagecoaches or wrestle as many alligators as I might have liked. I didn’t go to Houseboats, either, because I figured I could just drink my regular amount and substantially lessen the chance that I drown. That would have been a hell of a last column. Writing it after having drowned, that is. Ghostwriting ghosts, or something. A dead fool would probably have a lot of fresh ideas, maybe some stories about those slaves Keith was talking about.

But I’m more than satisfied with the way my final Davis Memorial Day weekend went down. Lots of fine wine, lots of fine music and lots of fine friends. There was also a poorly planned barbecue, a drunken soldier’s march under the blazing sun, and a makeshift campfire shared with a beautiful girl. Not bad at all.

It’s always kinda fun being in Davis on Memorial Day weekend because the place turns into a certifiable ghost town. As much as I appreciate a large crowd and a long line, it was refreshing to be able to go to a bar and actually get to the bar.

Well, thanks for cracking open the newspaper every Thursday, or venturing out onto that Internet to see what I’ve had to say. As you near the end of my final column, fear not. Stay thy hand, turn not that dagger against thy breast. Use the crossword in the back to dab those tears away. While this is my last appearance in the Aggie, if any of my plans go as I plan on them going, this will not be the last time you hear from Will Long.

I’m gonna use that little place at the end of the column for a shameless plug about my housing trouble (you can help!), so here’s something eccentric and possibly profound for you to marinate on as the figurative credits roll: As I’ve always said, December is September’s Wednesday. Well, this is it. Thanks for reading, friends.

WILL LONG desperately needs someone to sublet his room this summer. It’s in a good location, you’ll live with good folks, and the price is extremely negotiable. Plus, if you help Will out, he’ll pay for June’s rent and buy you a beer. Get the details at wclong@ucdavis.edu.


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