List Mania

For those who missed me espousing my affinity for lists in Why 30×30, let me reiterate: I love lists. I delight in whiling away my procrastinating-minutes (okay, sometimes hours) looking at random list after random list on sites like Cracked or BuzzFeed. If not for 20 Enchanting Facts About Hedgehogs, how else would I know that the spiny little critters are immune to adder venom? And where would I be if I hadn’t learned about cherpumple–three different pies stuffed in three different cakes–thanks to 18 Food Mashups That’ll Blow Your Mind? Probably not as close to having Type II Diabetes as I now am for having merely looked at a photo of the health-wrecking treat, but that’s not the point. The point is, reading lists makes me happy.

In addition to reading other people’s lists, I thoroughly enjoy creating my own—whether it’s a to-do list, like my 30×30 list, or a “have-done” list, which might be a list of the books I’ve read or countries I’ve visited.

I think about lists often. Probably way too often, if I’m completely honest. I create lists in my head while lying awake in bed when I should be sleeping. I think of lists while riding my bike along Venice Boardwalk, or while I’m on an airplane and I’ve already completed the crossword and Sudoku from the airline’s magazine, skimmed all the weird new inventions in Sky Mall, and read the safety instructions. (I’m a professed nerd, but I also like to know my options if the flight starts to go south, like the one where the pilots gingerly set the plane down on the ocean, and then the passengers calmly file out the emergency exits and drop down the inflatable slide to safety).

When I don’t want to think of lists all on my own, I invite others to play along. On a road trip and sick of repeating the only CD out of your entire collection that isn’t scratched? Name your three favorite songs of all time. Enjoying a bite of lunch, but not the boring conversation? Discuss your five favorite dishes your mom made when you were a kid. Out on a day hike and trying to take your mind off how steep the hill you’re climbing is? List the top ten places you want to visit. One of the things I love about lists is their versatility: they can be made anywhere, anytime and by anyone. They help pass the time and are usually more thought-provoking than chatting about the weather.

To provide myself an outlet for the lists I frequently create in my head, and to get closer to my ten thousand writing hours, from time to time I will write and post them.


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