The Last Two Hours
People in New York are thinking a lot about their own deaths. It
seemed like a good time to ask the old question, “What do you want to be doing
the last two hours of your life?”
Ray Parish, 35, said he wanted to make some steaks and crispy
fries for his wife and kids. “You got to cut the potatoes, and they got to be
the Yukon Gold potatoes, because the Idaho potatoes are too starchy,” Mr.
Parish said on a recent night at Milady’s, a bar in Soho. “You cut up the good
Yukon Gold potatoes, you do them in the first fry, and then you need to let
them cool off-they’re gonna be really good. So if we got two hours, we can do
that. Even minus 15 minutes for all the touchy-feely stuff.”
“I think I’d like to chill out with my good friends and family,”
said Sarah Gorman, 26, a nurse at St. Vincent’s. “I’ve never been scuba diving;
maybe I’d like to do that. I want to be in Jamaica with all my friends and
family, watching the sunset, eating good food-grilled jerk chicken. No dope,
just drinking beer. And then chilling out in the
And some sex?
Don’t want to be with George Clooney, having an orgasm?
She thought for a second. “Jimmy Fallon. I think me and him would
really get along. You know why? Because I would die hysterically laughing. He
makes me laugh so hard and he’s nice to look at. He’s so cute, so nice and
wholesome-I love him!”
Ms. Gorman’s male friend, who
identified himself as “Lance,” had more sporting plans.
“I would play golf for one hour and then have sex for one hour,”
What kind of sex?
“Just good sex.”
And who did Lance want to share that moment with?
“This is gonna make you laugh. It would be-you’re gonna love this
one-Jennifer Love Hewitt. It doesn’t get a lot better than that.”
“You know what I’d like to do?” ano-ther woman said. “I want to
take one of those NASCAR Winston Cup cars and like take out that little pedal
they have in there to keep it from going as fast as it would go …. I’m
completely alone and I have like really loud, maybe like Bad Religion just
blasting in my head. That would be fun.”
That idea seemed to appeal to this woman’s male friend. “My gut
impulse would be to steal a fast car and live recklessly, like a 911, a
“But what I would like to do is the back nine at Augusta, and
then find everyone of my friends at 18, that I grew up with. I’m going to shoot
29 on the back, and I would then find everyone I grew up with and say, ‘I love
you guys,’ and then I’d go to the seashore, whether it was in Greenwich-that’s
where we’re from-but I’d go to the coastline and sit down and wait for whatever
it was that was gonna happen. There would be music involved. I’m a Springsteen
fan; I would go out to a Springsteen song. Live version of ‘Born to Run.’ The
Suzie, a 25-year-old interior designer, said she wanted to be
grocery shopping with her boyfriend. “Anything normal! Like I want to be on a
fucking horseback ride, I want to be hiking, I want to be hanging out, watching
TV, like watching VCR movies, not TV. Like the fucking Sixteen Candles .”
“I would love to be sky diving the last two hours of my life,”
said Aaron, a 23-year-old student of international business and finance. “No,
no, I got it set up: a nice plate of waffles, homemade maple syrup-on the plane
on my way up sky diving-and a woman, you know, doing, you know, whatever. Yeah,
blowing me, O.K. And then just jumping out of my plane, just living it.”
“O.K., this is exactly what I want,” said his friend, Darren
Johnson, a 22-year-old student at Penn State. “I want to be on a hang glider.
You know how you’re strapped into a hang glider? Well, I want to have a female
strapped in right on the bottom of me, and I want to be floating in the sky at
the same time while the two of us are enjoying each other very thoroughly.
That’s what I want. And then I’m just gonna ride it. I’m gonna be up in the
air; they can’t hit me. Then I’ll land if I need to, take her out for a couple
drinks and then take her home and die while I’m inside her, just as the two of
“Last two hours of my life, I want to die in the sack with a
woman,” said Bob Rossillo, a 50-year-old house painter who was shooting pool.
“Anyone-what do I care? It’s gonna be my last two hours. We’re gonna have some
incredible sex. She’s gonna look not necessarily voluptuous, but-it’s not gonna
be what she looks like, it’s gonna be like what she’s like to be with. It’s
gonna be very pleasant. I want a helluva good meal. You know what? Whatever
gets my fancy at the time. If you were going to say right here, right now, a
beautiful lobster dinner, probably some cheesecake for dessert. Some Italian
cheesecake. I don’t know, nice cup of coffee, a cigarette and a blowjob.”
“The last two hours of my life, I’d like to be with the person I
love, my high-school sweetheart,” said Mr. Rossillo’s pool partner, J.B. Grant,
a 40-year-old photographer. “After 20 years. Her name is Robin. We’d love to be
in like the mountains or a pasture and just spending quality time.”
Would she be having sex with him?
“Quality time-we’re definitely making love, but enjoying each
Would his mother be there, too?
“Well, family would be a big part of it.”
Quiz time! Which of the following quotes are from A) unnamed
sources of New Yorker correspondent
Seymour Hersh, or B) the movie First
Blood , starring Sylvester Stallone?
1.”You can’t penetrate a
six-man cell when they’re brothers and cousins-no matter how much Urdu you
2.”You are dealing with a
man who is an expert-with guns, with knives, with his bare hands. A man who’s
been trained to ignore pain, to ignore weather. To live off the land, and to
eat things that would make a billy goat puke.”
3.”When we catch him, I’m
going to take that Congressional Medal of Honor and I’m going to pin it to his
4. “These guys have had a
case of the ass since Mogadishu … we’ll get there, but it’s going to get ugly.”
5. “I recruited him, I
trained him, I commanded him in Vietnam for three years. I’d say that makes him
6.”It’s not a fuckup-it’s
an outrage. This isn’t like you’re six years old and your mother calls you to
come in for lunch …. ”
7.”Look, we recruited
assholes. I handled bad guys. But we don’t recruit people from the Little
Sisters of the Poor …. ”
8. “You bring that many men, just remember one thing … a good supply of
9.”Are you telling me that
200 of our men against your boy is a no-win situation for us?”
10. “Are we serious about
getting rid of the problem-instead of sitting around making diversity quilts?”
Answers: 1. A. 2. B. 3. B. 4. A. 5. B. 6. A. 7. A. 8. B. 9. B.
People of New York
People of New York! Many of you have been wearing down jackets,
overcoats, scarves, hats and gloves, and it’s only, like, 50 degrees out.
Please stop it. You know colder weather is coming. We’ve got to pace ourselves,
garment-wise. If you get used to down jackets and the like in November, you’ll
leave yourself with no protection against January and February.
Similarly, people of New York, many of you have been freaking out
about the war-and it may be true that it hasn’t really gotten started yet.
You’ve got to save up those blasts of adrenaline for that night when, bombs
falling, you’ve got to make a successful escape. Early freak-outs may cloud
your mind and turn you into a quivering neurotic-and on that fateful night
possibly to come, you’ll need to be clear-headed and filled with the real
resolve that can help you make the right choices for the survival of yourselves
and your loved ones when the rubble is all around. So, to recap: no heavy
clothing until the winter weather really arrives and, please, no premature
freak-outs, either. I might be wrong about all this stuff, but I don’t really
think so. I mean, it makes sense, right?