I decided to write a bucket list. I was kind of superstitious about doing it, because it somehow just seems like bad luck or tempting fate:
Man: I need to do these things before I die.
Zeus, king of the gods: The Gods will not be ordered.
Eris, goddess of discord: I don’t see how you’re going to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro with the colitis you’re about to start having.
Atropos, who determines the length of men’s lives: You should… hurry.
Aphrodite, goddess of love: You’re not going to bed a supermodel, I’ll tell you that now. I might get you someone from the Lane Bryant catalog if you leave a good offering, but that’s the best I can do.
Poseidon, god of the seas: You can’t cross the Atlantic in your own sailboat. I say this not as God of the Seas, but as someone who can see that you sunburn easily, have terrible astigmatism, and regularly gets lost on the way to the mailbox.
See what I mean? But then, two things happened: I did some cool things that it would have been fun to cross off my bucket list had I made one, and I got desperate for blog topics. So here we are. I’ll leave off the items that have to do with “personal growth and fulfillment,” since presumably, you don’t want to read about how I want to, just once, be in good shape and good health and “really feel at home in my body.” It would undoubtedly be funny, but not on purpose. Onward:
Hit someone in the face with a pie, and be hit in the face with a pie: This is a symptom of my having watched too much TV as a child, especially I Love Lucy. Whenever the writers didn’t know how to wrap everything up in the two minutes remaining, everyone had a good old-fashioned pie fight and laughed and made up. It just seems so reasonable and so fun, and you get to eat the debris!
Reveal the identity of the real killer: Another TV neurosis. The two TV shows I have the clearest childhood memories of, excluding the reruns I lived on, are The Golden Girls and Murder, She Wrote. They had predictable results: Blanche Devereaux taught me how to act around men, and Jessica Fletcher made me yearn to unmask the murderer. I knew Murder, She Wrote was fiction but I didn’t know the premise was fictional, too. I just assumed that at some point in most people’s lives, they would be stranded in a castle during a terrible storm, a duke would be stabbed to death with an antique halberd, and before the police arrived one of the guests would call everyone into the library and explain how, through careful observation and deduction, they had learned who the murderer was. I don’t know why I thought I would be the one to figure it out, since I’m not observant at all and have the attention span of a fruit fly with a drinking problem, but there it was. I especially liked when Jessica said, “The butler couldn’t possibly have known where the keys were kept. But you could.” When other kids were playing cowboys and Indians, I played “assemble the suspects and reveal the terrible secrets the blackmailer had learned.” My poor, patient parents.
Publish a book: Check! Buy The Misanthrope’s Guide to Life September 18th!!!!!1!
Watch the Eurovision Song Contest: It’s everything I love. Bad music, nations competing, and broad stereotypes. For those of you who haven’t uncovered this joy, what happens is this: every European country who wants to, plus occasionally some countries on the fringes like Morocco, Israel, Lebanon, and the Caucasian countries, each choose an artist and song to compete at the big televised contest in spring. The songs are insanely kitschy: recently Latvia entered a pirate anthem called “Wolves of the Sea.” Each country “votes,” and since you can’t vote for your own country there’s a lot of weird political bickering: Greece and Cyprus always vote for each other and never for Turkey, Germany regularly throws Israel some “Did we mention we’re sorry?” points, and Eastern Europe either votes for Russia or not depending on how tense things are at the time. Greece almost boycotted Finland in 2006 over the Finns’ allegedly Satanic entry – which won. Remember the Celtic music craze of the 90s? Ireland kept sending one red-haired woman to sing about faeries and the morning mists, and regularly won. Italy stopped playing because it never won. Do you see how cool this is!? It’s like a macroscopic high school theatre department, if all the theatre kids had spent most of the last century fighting wars of extermination against each other. For some completely inexplicable reason, this delight is not broadcast in the United States, so sometimes I’m going to go to Europe in April, get a hotel room, and go nuts.
Visit every continent: It just seems like something you should do, doesn’t it? Also every state.
Learn to drive a standard transmission: I actually learned to drive in a standard, but then sort of… drove the truck into a ditch. I’ve never driven a stick since. I don’t really think I need to know, but it’s one of those “well, but what if… a man should know….” things.
Be able to pass the French Foreign Legion fitness test: I don’t want to join the French Foreign Legion – can you really imagine me in an equatorial outpost in one of France’s allegedly independent colonies, shouldering my rifle as I gaze up at the Tricolor and whisper “Pour la France…” Also, according to rumor they check your underwear for cleanliness and if there are “blemishes” they make you lick them clean. All that said… what if? What if I just totally, totally fuck up and need a new life, likerightnow? Also, I want it to be my decision not to be in the French Foreign Legion, not “Monsieur has too much of le paunch.” It’s pretty intense – I don’t have the exact requirements to hand, but it’s a lot of running and lifting and… motion. I figure I can build up to that level over three or four years, do it once, then rest on those laurels forever.
Swim with seals: Dolphins are too humanlike and whales are too large. I imagine swimming with seals is like being around a pack of aquatic puppies. Plus, I wanted to have something on this list that someone might conceivably take me to do for my birthday.
Learn to play the musical saw: I don’t need to explain why this would be cool, do I? The musical saw.