Neighbor Lyle drops by “Here’s a deal for you. Bobby Knight’s son, Pat,
is on death row in Texas and he wants someone to send him jokes so he
can use them for his departing words.”
“Get out of here,” I tell Lyle. I’m saying this not
so much as I don’t believe my neighbor, but if you knew him, you
wouldn’t. It’s just that I’m busy, trying to write a column and I want
him out. Besides, the idea that Texas Tech assistant coach Pat Knight
is on death row is ridiculous. Exactly the kind of story we’re looking
Lyle hands me an internet blurb and I guess he’s
right, partially. There is a guy on Texas death row named
Patrick Knight – not the same Pat Knight who is Bobby Knight’s son -
scheduled to be executed for a double murder on June
26th and yes, he has put out a call for jokes
and plans to select the best one as his final pre-execution statement.
If you ask us, that’s pretty crass and I don’t think we’ll be offering
him any zingers. I’m not even sure what kind of audience he expects.
Are guards and executioners big laughers? What if he rehearses all week
and doesn’t knock them dead? What if his audience starts heckling… and
he dies on stage? I would have hated to have contributed a joke that
got him booed just before he got zapped. Or what if the switch thrower
gets laughing so hard he accidentally flips the switch before
everyone’s ready? What if the governor sends word to stay the execution
and as soon as the messenger walks in … cue up 1940s Cagney movie
music… the guards are laughing and while the messenger shouts “Stop
the…” the guard inadvertently flips the switch. I know… this kind
of stuff kills at the Big House.
Not all that funny, really. Funnier concept,
if you can call it that, is Bobby Knight actually being on death row.
It could happen. Bobby gets to choking one of his players, gets carried
away, grips a little too hard, other coaches try to pull him off and he
slings them across the floor into the bleachers and then goes back to
choking. Now you have dead players and dead coaches so then Bobby is
distraught so he goes hunting with friends and shoots a few of them.
Certainly then, Bobby will end up in Huntsville Prison, I’d think. Not
so farfetched, really.
That could be a funny scene. Enemies, former
players, will be lining up for that snuffing. It’d be a media circus.
Bobby Knight is a jokester and he won’t need to send out for writers.
He’ll be snapping them off like free throws. He might be a little
indignant about being killed and may try to bully the guards. Things
like sticking his gum under the electric chair and then trying to lift
up the chair and sling it across the yard. He may try to choke the
guard who brings him his last meal, berate the clergy who reads him his
last rites, all kinds of funny business. And then when he gets wheeled
in he’ll be all quips. Things like:
hoping they forgot to pay their electric bill.”
“I got my
last meal from Sizzler. Could you warm this up a bit?”
just like a Puerto Rican policeman. Where is a trash can when you need
where’d you get that tie, off a dead convict?”
he going to do, kill me?”
“I missed you
at the salad bar.”
executioner, heard you had arthritis. Can’t flip ‘em like you used to.”
just have Dick Cheney come in and pretend I’m a turkey?”