Having caught up to the white whale at long last, Moby-Dick’s Captain Ahab dies in a flurry of violence and one last address to a mortal enemy whose existence defines his life right up to its final moments: “To the last I grapple with thee,” he yells. “From hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee.”
Ahab’s hatred of Moby-Dick is profound. His relationship to an implacable force of nature, a leviathan that represents so much more than a single living creature, is as much a part of him as his own crippled body. Ahab’s last words are powerful testament to this. They’re also echoed in the obituary of a woman who is defined by many things, not least of which being that she absolutely fucking hated Tom Brady.
As The Buffalo News reports, Carole Scarsella’s “family wanted to make a few things clear in the death notice” they wrote in her memory. The obituary tells us that Scarsella loved to read, especially books by Stephen King, that she “loved slot machines and Facebook games,” loved to smoke “millions of cigarettes,” and loved the New York Yankees and LeBron James. For one sentence, though, the notice turns away from love and toward its inverse. “She HATED Tom Brady,” the obituary says, underscoring the point with capital letters.
Obviously Scarsella’s feelings about Brady were an important part of her life. An obituary is never enough to capture the fullness and complexity of a single person, but it’s up to the deceased’s loved ones to use what they know in order to try. Scarsella’s granddaughter understands this. As The Buffalo News writes, she later shared a message saying she misses her grandmother “endlessly” but is “glad she is remembered and the people of Buffalo also share her deep-rooted hatred of Tom Brady.”
“To the last I grapple with thee,” indeed.
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