Wait, don’t leave yet. This column isn’t meant to stimulate a political discussion about the pros and cons of capital punishment. It’s intended to stimulate an entirely different discussion.
What would you request for your last meal?
During interviews, most celebrities contemplate massive feasts with lobster, caviar and champagne (although alcohol is not allowed). That’s not what most prisoners request, instead seeking comfort food like steak or fried chicken.
Can a prisoner request anything? Sure, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to get it. In Florida, for example, the meal can’t cost more than $40 and must be prepared locally. Sorry, no croissants from France. Some states only offer what can be cooked in the prison’s kitchen.
Texas, on the other hand, no longer allows death row inmates the option of making a request. They get whatever was on that day’s menu. Most Texas inmates prefer not to be executed on a Tuesday; they hate meatloaf night.
Back in 2011, a Texas death row inmate named Larry Brewer submitted the most elaborate last meal request ever: a triple-meat bacon cheeseburger, three fajitas, a pound of BBQ, half-loaf of white bread, Meat Lover’s pizza, a pint of Blue Bell vanilla ice cream, a slab of peanut butter fudge with crushed peanuts and three root beers. Larry’s request was granted, and as a final protest, he didn’t eat any of it. That didn’t sit well with elected officials, who stopped the practice entirely. Thanks, Larry, you’ve ruined it for everybody!
Serial killer John Wayne Gacy got fried shrimp and a bucket of KFC with French fries, while The Oklahoma City Bomber, Timothy McVeigh, skipped dinner completely and had two pints of ice cream. Ted Bundy declined to request a last meal so the serial killer got the standard last meal by default: steak, eggs, hash browns, toast, milk and juice. Sounds more like breakfast at IHOP.
Many moons ago, my friends and I pondered that question. After a night of, well, let’s call it, “adult activities,” we usually ended the evening at a diner or a fast food joint that was still open. We spent way too much time having ridiculous discussions at places like Burger King, McDonald’s, White Castle, Taco Bell and Jack-in-the-Box.
So, what would you request? Choose wisely, my friend. If it’s my last meal, I’m taking no chances with someone else picking out my steak and possibly overcooking it. What am I going to do, send it back? Unless my mother could make me a plate of spaghetti and meatballs, I’m not trusting anybody else’s sauce. Most Italians won’t order pasta in a restaurant for a reason. Never was a big fish fan, what if I choke on a fish bone?
I’d have a simple request. I want to go out with a Burger King Whopper and fries, washing it down with a tall glass (or two) of coke with ice. I want an order of diner-style onion rings, the real rings dipped in batter. I want A1 Sauce to mix into ketchup for dipping the onion rings. I’d also like a breast and wing from KFC, extra crispy. No vegetables, thank you. I spent my life eating vegetables only because I had to.
When I’m all done with dinner, I want a big piece of NY-style cheesecake and some mint chocolate chip ice cream on the side. A cup of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee with cream (no sugar), would be nice.
I know it’s macabre to think about something like your last meal, but I want to be prepared, just in case.
Wait, don’t I get a snack? What about a Snickers before I take that long walk?
Paul DiSclafani, a Massapequa resident, is a 2018 Press Club of Long Island award winning columnist and an Anton Media Group contributor since 2016.