The last word on this subject is that there is no last word. Even if you have the last word, it doesn’t last. Life goes on. Your life. The other person’s life. Seven billion lives keep getting lived.
And so any last word is just temporary, fleeting, ephemeral. Having that last come-back or comment, getting in the final slight or witticism or giving that piece of your mind isn’t really the last thing that will count, the last decisive factor, the pièce de résistance, the item that will tip the scales. It won’t remain in the remains of the day.
Because you could go on to greatness. They could go on to ignominy. Or you could go on to anonymity. And they could go on to celebrity. Or vice versa. Or none of the above.
In the final analysis, it will be factors other than words that really are the last word. And really there is no final analysis.
Like the [Chinese] fable of the farmer with a solitary horse that ran away, which at first was seen as misfortune until it returned with a herd of wild horses that the farmer then wrangled, the ultimate blessing or curse of any life event should be met with “We’ll see…” as life turns and double-backs and what was initially positive is now negative, what seemed like good fortune now yields misery, what appeared as compromise now feels like gain, what felt like waving the white flag now feels like victory.
So the last word is anything but. It doesn’t matter. It’s transient. No one remembers the last word anyway (or who had it) nor most of the words that came before or after.
Might as well let the other person have the last word. Words are cheap. Free, actually. It’s our actions that express our priorities (per Gandhi). Actions are the pictures of our lives; pictures worth thousands of words. How we live says it all. Which is how we live our message.
So to heck with the last word. In a word, fuhgeddaboutit.
Because the last word certainly isn’t.
This is: WORD.