A fairly rich man was given less than twelve months to live. He had no children, no family, just an estranged wife who had run off with her fitness instructor a couple of years earlier. After his cancer specialist had given him the bad news, he stopped working and started drinking, day after day, determined to enjoy his last few months with friends in the local pubs whilst ensuring that his wife (who didn’t know about his illness and had recently begun divorce proceedings) didn’t get her hands on any of his money. Whenever he was in a pub, which was most of the time, if someone walked through the door he bought them a drink. Friends got the occasional round of drinks in, but most of the time they were instructed to keep their wallets firmly closed. He spent, on average, well over a thousand pounds a week in the village’s three pubs. Then he gave his big house to a children’s charity, on the understanding that he could continue to live there until his death.
When he had just days to live, he lay in his hospital bed and wrote a note to his wife, and placed it in an envelope which he then sealed. On the front of the envelope he wrote: “To be opened after my death”. Then he asked the duty nurse for the telephone, so he could make a call to a friend.
After the funeral, all his friends and acquaintances went back to his favourite pub, The Bell. His wife and the fitness instructor did too, at the landlord’s request. Once everyone had a drink in their hand, the landlord opened the envelope. He asked for silence, then to the assembled throng he began to read aloud the words written on the single sheet of paper…
For the attention of my wife
I’ve died before, you ought to know,
When I stood in the gloom and watched you go,
And now I’m dead again, but honey,
I want you to know that there’s, well, no money,
That’s right my love, it’s true my dear,
The cash has gone, all spent on beer,
I like a pint, you may recall,
So I’ve pissed my money up the wall,
Don’t be upset, and please don’t blub,
I’ve had some great times down the pub,
And since you left, that’s where I’ve been,
The Bell, Red Lion, King & Queen,
The landlords, they all knew my name,
For them, life will not be the same,
The customers too will find it odd,
No more free drinks from pissed old sod,
‘cos for three years now, I’ve spent my life,
Imbibing to forget my wife,
A one man war on sobriety,
Waged in three pubs, for variety,
But life for me is over now,
So cheerio, deceitful cow,
You’re getting nothing, not a cent,
The cash has gone, it’s all been spent,
The last of it bought you that drink,
I’ve spent it wisely, don’t you think?
So raise your glass and drink a toast,
To beer, the love I’ve loved the most.