August 10th, 2009


Buck It

The concept of the “Bucket List” is not a new one, though the Jack Nicholson/Morgan Freeman film of that name (which, btw, I have not seen) seems to have brought the concept into the mainstream. For those of you lagging behind the curve, the “bucket” in bucket list refers to kicking the bucket, and a bucket list is a list of things to do before you die.

Typical bucket list items probably include things like skydiving, riding an elephant, and running with the bulls in Pamplona.

Well, I want to take this whole bucket list notion in a couple of new directions. First of all, there are really (potentially) two different kinds of bucket lists: the ‘macro’ and the ‘micro,’ if you like. The ‘macro’ list is The Big Stuff, as in the examples given above. But I think there’s also room for a ‘micro’ bucket list of The Little Stuff. Example:

Bucket List (Micro)
1. Fix leg on bedroom table that’s been flopping around for last 10 years.
2. Train dog to perform at least one actual, repeatable command.
3. Call the number on my screen and actually order a product pitched by the late Billy Mays.
4. Wash my hands in the men’s room even when there aren’t any witnesses.
5. Either pledge something to my local PBS affiliate or stop feeling guilty when told that the show I’m watching was made possible by “…the financial support of viewers like you.”

But I’m not here just to talk about bucket lists. Personally, I’ve never made one. In fact, like a lot of people, I think I’m often more motivated by negative feelings than positive ones. Ultimately, I think I’m far less likely to compose a bucket list and far more likely to compose a “F**k It List.” That would be a list of things I never want to do again as long as I live. Example (unlike the “Bucket List (Micro)” above, these are all actual items on my personal list):

F**k It List
1. No matter how much they may believe it, I will never again believe a friend who assures me that “I actually drive better when I’m stoned!”
2. Never again will I say to a girlfriend, “That outfit makes you look ten years younger!”
3. No matter how low I am on provisions, I will never again stop at the Walmart in Pecos, Texas.
4. Banquet Brand Frozen Dinners? Just say no. Stouffer’s, Marie Callender’s… absolutely. But Banquet? Never again. Hell, they give friggin’ Swanson a good name.
5. As a corollary to item #1 – Role-Playing Games are not enhanced by the introduction of mind-altering substances. Instead, the gaming tends to collapse in disarray. So we’re permanently crossing that combination off the list. One or the other, but not both together.
6. I will never again tag along as a guest to a Mensa cookout.
7. I will surrender any lingering hope that Keanu Reeves might someday be a good actor.
8. I will never again argue about hockey with my sister-in-law.
9. I will never again follow up a martini with a glass of white wine.
10. If the shoes aren’t comfortable when I try them on in the store, I will not buy them.
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