Couper Ici: Another Irreverent and Morbid-ish Post

Did you know that prison inmates can still be executed in the US by electric chair? I was shocked! (See what I just did there?)

David, Ryan and I were talking about this at lunch today because an inmate in Tennessee was recently executed that way; and from what I understand, this guy had the option of dying by electric chair or by lethal injection. David was surprised that the inmate had a choice in the matter. Come to think of it, I was too.

David said, “If he got to pick, why the electric chair? That’s stupid! Who would choose that?”

The Simpsons Electric Chair GIF - TheSimpsons ElectricChair Electrocution GIFs

“Beats the hell outta me!” I said, “But, uhm, it’s a little late to ask him that question now, don’t you think?” Even so, I got my little book of questions out, the ones that I’ll be asking once I get to the other side, and added that to the list.

Our discussion prompted Ryan to ask a question about the guillotine. “Does that mean they chop off your head?” he asked wincing as if in pain. Just thinking about this was giving him the willies! (Oh, the things we are dying to know but are also kind of afraid to ask — until the right moment presents itself, that is. Ha!)

I told Ryan that the French invented their efficient beheading machine, probably during their revolution, which was a long time ago. BTW, I don’t know that to be true. It seems true. It might be true. I’m not actually going to research this, but if someone out there knows the answer for sure, feel free to enlighten me. I enjoy getting enlightened whenever possible.

What I do know is that the guillotine, apparently, was/is a fairly quick and effective way to end someone — if, say for instance, I were getting my information from watching the film version of A Tale of Two Cities — which I am. Not sure if the French still use this  method of execution anymore. Or if they execute anymore. (I probably should know this.)

Image result for guillotine gif

By the way, since we’re on the topic, does anyone know whether Marie Antoinette really had a dotted line drawn on the back of her neck with the words, “Cut here,” written under the line or is that just a myth? (Why do I even think I know that?) Also, I wonder how you write that in French because it wouldn’t make sense for M.A. to have that written in English, now would it?

But if she did write it in English, do you think the executioner would have stopped and said, “Wait a minute, here! What’s this? ‘Cut here?’ Isn’t that English? What does that mean? Somebody explain what is written here before we begin,” thus buying poor Marie a few extra minutes until they got the translation all sorted out. And do you think later on while the executioner was eating his dinner, he was thinking and quietly chuckling to himself, “Oh, that Marie! Sorry she had to go! She was funny, that one! Cut here. Written in English! Heeeheeehee! Wait until I tell the guys at the tavern. They’ll get a helluva kick out of this story!”

Hold on, let me use Google Translate. Okay…and we have the words…

“Couper ici.”

So these are the words, presumably, that would have been written on Marie’s neck, provided that’s what really happened and she didn’t get cute by writing it in English. According to Google Translate. Because I knew you were as curious as I was. But you know what they say about curiosity don’t you? So hide your kitties, oh curious ones! 

You’re welcome.

And of course, because this is my family and we talk about such things (but then, again, what family doesn’t?), we also started discussing other methods of execution and which way we would want to go if we had a choice. And yeah, I know that all of this is highly unlikely, but it’s just a hypothetical and talking about it isn’t going to hurt anyone, so come on and play along:

If you knew you were going to be executed — justly or unjustly — and you were given options — how would you want to go?

I mean who hasn’t thought about what they’d want for their last meal at least, right?

So this just takes that discussion one step further. It’s not that morbid. Well, I suppose it is for some of you; but it’s not like, just because we’re discussing this, it means you’re inviting “Death” to your doorstep. I mean, you’ve probably read or heard about someone dying a gruesome death at some point and thought, “Oh, man, that’s a horrible way to go! When I die, I’d rather go — and then you’d say the way you’d rather go. Personally, I’d prefer to go in my sleep. But if not that, death by something quick and painless that I didn’t see coming works.

Well, okay, that’s not entirely true. My very first choice would be to live long enough to have Jesus come and take me during Rapture. Just saying.

Image result for the rapture gif
By the way, my religious upbringing suggests this happens in a “twinkling of an eye.” So this representation is taking way too long!

But if Rapture’s not going to happen in my lifetime — in my sleep after I’ve had a long, satisfying and fulfilled life. Third? Just something quick, painless and as out-of-the-blue as possible. “She never saw it coming and never knew what hit her. Didn’t feel a thing. She was dead before she hit the ground,” is how I want my death to be described. If I get a choice.

However, if I were executed (because you want to say that this would never happen to you — EVER; but then, can anyone really know that it won’t happen to them 100 percent for sure, for sure?), in the order of my preferences — death by:

Lethal injection (also David’s preference)

Gas chamber

Firing Squad




Drinking cyanide Kool-aid

Electric Chair

Did I leave anything out? (Also, Ryan chose to not participate for those of you who were wondering.)

So, Wayward Friends, how about you? If given a choice, how would you want to go? If you want to give an explanation as well, please feel free to do so.

Also, what would your last meal be? I would want lasagna from Rocco’s from Denton, Texas, circa 1989. Second choice: a nice chicken piccata with all the fixins’, maybe? Not positive about that, though. Hmm.

Okay, your turn.

Here’s a little thinking music to get you started —



31 thoughts on “Couper Ici: Another Irreverent and Morbid-ish Post”

  1. WTAF? You’d choose a firing squad over drinking the Kool-Aid?? And STONING?

    Having thought about this far too much anyway (and, er, doing so on a more or less regular basis in life), I gotta go with carbon monoxide or nitrogen gas. You just go to sleep. It would be like the gas chamber, but without so much “Made by Peterbilt” all over the room.

    • Lille, so what you’re saying is gas chamber if executed, right? And yea, one bullet right between the eyes beats stoning or the agony of cyanide. You think gas chamber’s a quicker, more painless death than lethal injection? Mona

      • No, I’m saying STONING is, like, the worst. We’re talking degrees of awful here. Er, unless someone’s there who can clock you a good one right upside the head?

          • I’m glad Lille said this because when I saw your list, I actually said “Stoning!?!?” aloud in disbelief. Who wants to get slowly beaten to death by an angry mob with weak throws and bad aim??

            For me… If it were suicide, I’d choose a bullet to the temple. Maybe if it were execution, they’d let me do that. Probably not though.
            Stoning is definitely not on the list, nor is being flayed alive, as Patricia so helpfully suggested. That’s probably rock bottom, being flayed alive. It’s the only one that makes me shudder.
            Can they turn me into a rat and have a dog shake me violently back and forth? That one seems disorienting, quick, and efficient.
            I think the guillotine was better than having a shitty executioner whack through your neck with several blows, or hanging and not having your neck break.
            I don’t know why lethal injection isn’t top of my list. It should be. But it just seems like… If I’m going to have to die, it might as well be an experience, you know?
            I can’t decide. I want it violent and quick. A firing squad, isn’t that all body shots? If they all aimed for my head, that’d be okay I guess. As long as the countdown doesn’t kill me first.

            Last meal? Oh gosh, that’s tough. I probably wouldn’t want to eat. If I could, maybe a nice beef tenderloin. Or crab legs. Or a philly cheese steak. And my sister’s homemade cookies for dessert!
            As for Marie Antoinette, I don’t know. I have a feeling it’s not true. Pretty much everything you ever hear about Marie Antoinette is lies. Unfortunately for her, court gossip and political slander last as long as human memory.

    • Sarah,
      You want it to be an experience, huh? Fair enough. Maybe you’ve just answered the question David had at the top about the guy who decided on going out in the electric chair. Maybe he wanted it to be an electrifying experience. I’m not judging. (Yes, I am.) And about Marie Antoinette…I know, she had a lot of haters, didn’t she? And yet, how many other queens from so long ago still have people talking about them? And about the stoning…I mean, don’t people still get stoned in certain parts of the world? Maybe not. I dunno. I just assumed…probably not. I wouldn’t want to go out that way; which is why it’s down toward the bottom of my list. Also, I’m not exactly sure what getting flayed alive entails, but it sounds pretty horrific. I think I might have seen that done once, though; on an episode of Vikings. I just didn’t know what they called it when I saw it done. Well, I’m still not 100 percent sure that’s how they killed the guy, but it seems to fit with what I’d think of as being “flayed.” Shudder.

  2. In school I learned that the guillotine was designed by a doctor who wanted people to die better. As in less painfully and more quickly. If that’s true, it seems the strangest interpretation of the doctors’ Hippocratic Oath that I believe is “do no harm.” And with that, I’ll wander off to contemplate my own demise…

  3. Thanks for enlightening us, Ally! Very interesting info. And yes, it does appear ironic that a doctor is the one to have come up with this device that so effectively kills. Gotta love irony! Also, please don’t wander off too far–I’ll start worrying about you. LOL. 😉

  4. So…I did a gutteral laugh just now about the joke re: the electric chair being shocking. But I maybe shouldn’t admit that out loud, because I am very anti capital punishment. But I also appreciate a well placed pun. Wait…you have an actual list of questions to ask when you get to “the other side”? That is brilliant. I may have to steal that. I also get great enjoyment about being enlightened, btw. Ooh, you tripped my trigger when you started talking about last meals. We had this discussion a few years back (don’t ask me how this even started) with my in laws. My MIL said she would want a nice fresh salad. Seriously. Now, I am quite the fan of a good salad ( I eat one most every day at work with cooked chicken and avocado of course) but for your last meal? I would go with a hot fudge sundae. Then a piece of lasagna. Then a chicken quessidilla (how the hell do you spell this word? It eludes me. Then a turkey dinner. Then I’d be ready to go. Put some death juice in my arm and call it good. And then you mention “The Rapture”! I fricking hate when people choose to have bumper stickers on their car claiming that “in case of rapture this car will be unmanned”. How self-righteous can you be? And you added another perfect song to button up your post. You are something else, Miss Mona!

    • Rhonda,
      You liked my pun, did ya? And of course I have a list of questions to ask once I “cross over.” You do too, right? I mean, I have one kid who has autism, the other is ADHD, I’m ADHD, Dad’s a bonafide hoarder, Mom died from COPD. Questions? Yeah, I have a few. Steal away, woman! Okay, if you like enlightenment, you gotta check out Adie’s and Patricia’s responses below. Wow, that’s a big last meal! Q-u-e-s-a-d-i-l-l-a. Quesadilla. I have to know how to spell that word, being from Texas and all. Ooh, I haven’t eaten lunch yet. That sounds yummy. Lethal injection. Yep, me too! Well, technically, you don’t actually die during Rapture, so that’s kind of my way of getting out of the whole “death” thing, but…sorry to trigger one of your pet peeves. Oh, that’s right — you had a run in with a”witness” at Target if I remember correctly. Yikes! *runs to car with Goo Gone and starts getting rid of bumper sticker* (Just kidding! I don’t have any bumper stickers! Ha!) And lastly, glad you liked the song. It seemed to fit the mood of this particular post. Hugs and a long life to you, my friend, Mona

  5. You may want to reconsider the gas chamber’s position on your list. If I recall correctly, it’s actually a very painful way to die. It’s not like anesthesia where you breathe it in and it makes you sleepy and you lie down to die. I remember being told in school that the gas burned the skin, eyes, and lungs, causing people to choke violently, and victims could take a long time to actually die (and some didn’t, and would have to be shot after coming out).

    *sings* The more you knowwwww…

    Assuming I do really know. I was told this in high school, about fifteen years ago. I may be misremembering, or my teacher may have been wrong. It seems likely, though.

    • Adie,
      And you are a shining example of why I write these blogs. So glad you’ve enlightened me about being gassed. I. Had.No. Idea. In theory, it sounded like no muss, no fuss. But now? So, yeah, gas chamber now goes way down to the bottom of the list. Maybe even after the electric chair. Thanks for your input! Hugs to you, Mona

  6. Another way to die is by fire. Anyone suspected of being a witch was burned alive — I believe Joan of Arc was too, even though the witch charges were totally trumped up in her case. There was also a practice in some of the more barbaric tribes of putting a lot of people in a large basket and setting the basket on fire. A way to die that was reserved for traitors was being literally pulled apart — they would tie ropes around your wrists and ankles and attach the four ropes to four horses going in four opposite directions, then all at once they would all pull; this was one of the medieval ways they killed you. That’s right up there with being flayed alive, which also happened with more regularity than you can imagine and seems to me like the worst. There’s the skull-splitting method too — when the person in charge wanted to really make a statement he would chop you in two starting at the top; King Clovis did this, if I remember right. In the battle of Stalingrad they made enemy soldiers lay down on the freezing street, then poured water over them so they froze like that and they could then drive trucks and tanks over them, making like a road. Yeah, we have it pretty good here. Let us not forget how good we have it!

    • Patricia,
      Dang, Woman! Apparently, we’ve tapped into a topic you just so happen to know a little something about. Dare I ask? LOL! How gruesome, one and all! Just goes to show that people can be damned creative in their barbarism. Unbelievable. Presumably, none of what you mentioned are still ways that people are put to death anymore. I hope. But since we are going way back–I also wouldn’t want t0 be crucified. Also, I think the very worst sounding execution was the whole hanged, drawn and quartered thing. SHUDDER!!!!! Okay, I’m going to be thinking about these for awhile! Hmm.

      • I am not sure what it says about me that I know something about this stuff — history is full of killing and I love history — just got though the Dan Carlin series Wrath of the Khans. Let me tell you, those people knew something about killing! How do we get on with our goal (of conquering this territory or keeping these people in line)? Get as many as you can out of the way. Exiling might be an option — a lot of British criminals in the 18th century ended up in Australia that way — it was far enough away that you didn’t worry about those people any more. But it’s easier (certainly was for the Khans) to just kill them. A more “final” solution you could say (though I say that carefully, knowing that probably the most evil person in history summed up putting Jews through the Holocaust that way).

        “Sentenced to die” has different meanings at different times and in different cultures though. We usually think of it as being connected to a crime: You did X, we will hang you for that. Hanging was used a lot in the past because they would leave the bodies there in the town square — and even bring their children to watch the execution! — as a warning: Do X and you too will be hanged. It was the same reason they sometimes stuck the chopped-off heads on top of poles in some public place like the bridge or the main street through town so you could watch as the crows came and the maggots came and did their clean-up work. Yeah, maybe avoiding X is a good plan. Hanging and head-chopping were pretty quick deaths though, and that was sometimes thought of as “too good” for so-and-so. Make him suffer. Lengthen the duration of the pain — thus flaying and such means. Also they knew that watching the people you love suffer is worse than suffering yourself. So they would make you watch as they did unspeakable things to your wife and children, then gouge your eyes out so that the last images you have were those of your family writhing and dying. Then kill you a while later after you have had some time to suffer through the recurring images going through your head. Flaying still seems the worst though. Whenever they ask me at the doctor “How bad is your pain on a scale of one to ten?” I think of being flayed alive as a ten — so what is my shoulder problem compared to THAT??

        What I wonder more about is the guys who had to do the killing. Say the Khans sack a town and the order is to leave no one — no one — alive. This is, technically, a death sentence for all the people in this town, valiant as they might be in defending. The typical method in such cases was simply to divide them up — each guy is assigned 20-30 people to kill. When you have to do this, I would think you use the simplest (head-chopping, no-way-to-recover-from) method. Maybe it depends on how much of a hurry you are in. Hey, we have another town to sack, get a move on!! Sometimes they would do this and then leave and then send a small group back a few days later to get the ones who had successfully hidden and were finally getting out and about again because they thought the danger was over. But during this time you were also more used to death — they killed animals for food on a regular basis, no sentimentality there, need to eat. Seems killing wasn’t as big a deal. No sanctity of life campaigns I suspect.

        Another crazy thing they used to do — Roman armies did this sometimes and Mongolians and any of these that wanted to show the underlings just how serious this business is, just how brutal we expect you in turn to be: Before the sacking and killing began, they’d line up the soldiers (these are the guys that are about to go out and fight on your side!!) and the guy in charge would walk down the line and shoot/ax/chop(=kill) every TENTH guy. This was called decimating the army. It was supposed to make the remaining nine TOUGHER. See what we’ll do (with zero compunction) if you don’t give it your all?!

        People get pretty bent out of shape about a lot of stuff, a lot of times about politics, as if it’s the end of the world. There’s a lot to fix, a lot wrong — don’t misunderstand — but we do not have marauding thousands attacking our cities and burning our houses and raping our mothers and daughters and sisters and burying our children alive and leaving no one alive. That’s right, I forgot about the burying alive thing. That’s another way they did you in. I comfort myself with thoughts like this 🙂

        • So Patricia, what you’re really saying is that most of the belly-aching we do as a society is, “tis but a scratch,” eh? Compared to what you just laid out, how could anyone disagree with your argument? That is amazing. And daunting. And scary as shit, woman! But I like it and thank you for sharing. BTW, I’ll be off to the post office in just a little while. I understand there may be a package for me? Dismembered hands? Itty bitty birdie feet? Oooh, I’m so excited! Hugs, Mona

          • Dismembered hands would weigh too much (going all the way to Texas anyway) so if I were going down that road I would use only the fingers. Birdie feet are just not that gross (says the woman who has 22 chickens). No, I did not choose gross (this time!). You will see. The timing is off now though — clearly you are not in the same place as you were several weeks ago, or I seriously misunderstood the blue girl — and I think the contents will not hit its mark so well, may even seem ridiculous, so I have put it on my “I tried” list 🙂 Please just discard as necessary and know I tried. Very best to you always!

            Oh yes, and I like that: “tis but a scratch.” Excellent! I’ll remember that.

  7. Many devices very similar the guillotine (but with the same effect – chopping off of the head) had been in use centuries before the French Revolution. A machine called ‘The Halifax Gibbet’ was first recorded as being used there in 1286 when one John Dalton was beheaded. In the 1790s Joseph Guillotin merely recommended the use of this fairly common execution device to the French National Assembly when on a committee chaired by Dr. Antoine Louis, which had been given the task of suggesting a more practical execution method.

    (Sorry, I’m a history nerd…)

  8. Katherine,
    I’m so pleased that you could add to our dialogue. I had a bet with myself that if anyone knew this history, it might be you; so I’m happy that you did and that you shared. I promise that most of my posts aren’t this morbid, but I’m enjoying it, anyway, and hope my Wayward Friends are as well! I think many of them are still in shock, though. Anyway, I’ve learned much from everyone! Thanks so much and hugs, Mona

  9. Mona… this is so cool! I thought I was the only nut that had this thought through! After all aren’t the majority in prison innocent? Sorry, I worked in corrections… I heard that ALL THE TIME from my guys… so, last meal! After I’ve had my 10 years of appeals at the tax payers expense and the family of my victim put through as much grief as they can stand I will order McDonalds! A Big Mac, chicken nuggets, quarter pounder with cheese and bbq dipping sauce and a side of mayo WITH fries and a coke. Don’t worry… (I don’t have to eat it all!) Fun Fact: 80% of those ordering their last meal do not eat it. (Maybe not a ‘fun’ fact but true!) then I’ll take my walk to the lethal injection room. All done!

    • Kim,
      Beautiful! I love a woman who knows her mind! Done and done! Also, that’s a truly interesting fact. ~M

  10. Wow. You have put some serious thought into this. If I were forced to make a choice, I suppose I’d go with the cyanide Kool-Aid. I’d want to pick the flavor, too. Not that I would, under normal circumstances, drink that artificial crap. But at that point, health implications are probably the least of a death row inmate’s concerns. So yeah, I’d probably go with cherry or grape cyanide Kool-Aid. 😛

    We went to Medieval Times recently, and took a stroll through the Museum of Torture. I’ll admit, the Guillotine does not look like a fun way to go. Yet compared to some of the other archaic contraptions, like the Pear of Anguish, it almost seemed preferable. All I can say is that’s not a time period I would have liked to live through. :/

  11. Okay, QG, I’m intrigued. You can’t just say “Pear of Anguish” and not give details! What in the world is that? I do believe you need to enlighten us! Ha! Mona

    • You can google it, but the pear of anguish is a pear-shaped metal object designed exclusively for torturing women. It would be inserted into an intimate orifice in the closed position. At the end facing outward was a screw-head that the “operator” could turn in order to expand the size of the object, little-by-little. Some of them had spikes that would come out near the end of the range of movement which would tear into the flesh, increasing the amount of pain inflicted.

      It’s not an execution device, but is designed to inflict a great deal of overwhelming pain. Nonetheless the injuries left behind by it would almost certainly become septic and result in the end of the recipient’s life.

      • Hey Phillip,
        Welcome to Wayward Sparkles! Glad you found a post that you enjoy! Actually, reading back through this entire post and comments brought lots of good memories to mind. Glad you’ve educated us on the pear of anguish. NO THANK YOU! Also, I don’t know you well, so the question we all want to know is how YOU know so much about such things? I hope I don’t regret asking! Ha! What’s even more interesting is that you didn’t say what your preferred method of execution was. I’m going to assume it isn’t the pear. Anyway, thanks for stopping by with additional info. I hope you come by again soon! Mona

    • Phillip,
      Wasn’t there a hamburger place with the same name off of FM 407 in Lewisville? If so, I think I ate there with my parents…geez…in the early 2000’s maybe? Maybe the 1990’s? I wonder if that place is still there? I’ll ask my Dad, he’ll know. Used to be a favorite of his. And you’re right, really good burgers…however, if I had to eat a “last burger,” it would definitely be one of my husband’s grilled burgers. Phenomenal! Did you ever eat at Rocco’s? Also, what was the name of that place on the square, no longer there…it had all the hunter green vibe going? It was a bar and grill. Dammit. I’m getting old. We used to eat there a bunch from like 1979 until I moved away from the area in 1997; though I couldn’t tell you if it was still there in 1997. If I heard the name, I’d go…that’s it! But I certainly can’t think of the name right now. It’s going to haunt me until I figure it out. Ugh. Mona


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