The anti-bucket list
March 3, 2014
by Ivan Raconteur

Bucket lists have been quite popular in recent years, and despite my normal aversion to anything trendy, I suppose making a bucket list isn’t such a bad idea.

Writing things down increases the likelihood we will actually do them, and making the list might even help us to identify the things we want to accomplish.

A colleague recently drew to my attention the fact that he has an anti-bucket list, and that seems like an even better idea.

An anti-bucket list is a statement of things we don’t want to do.

It occurred to me that although I had never formalized an anti-bucket list, there are plenty of things I would put on such a list were I to make one.

Following the logic “it is better to have things written down,” I have done so.

Making this list has the added benefit that if I am ever incapacitated or become mentally muddled, whomever gets the job of taking care of me can refer to the list to help me avoid these things, even if I am unable to avoid them on my own.

Following, in no particular order, is my anti-bucket list:

1) I do not wish to be elected king of anything that is not an actual country. If anyone comes along and tries to throw one of those fake crowns or cheesy robes on me, I’m going to hit them with my stick. Hard. So be warned.

2) The days when you might have talked me into going on a roller coaster or any of those other rides at an amusement park are behind me.

I may have done that sort of thing when I was younger, but at my time of life, I can’t afford to have all my internal organs shaken around. I might never be able to shuffle them back into place.

And, if I want to experience the sensation of dizziness, I will do it the old-fashioned way – through the liberal application of adult beverages.

3) I have vowed never to judge one of those “beautiful babies” contests. I won’t do it, so don’t ask me. Despite popular fiction about their alleged attractiveness, all babies look like gargoyles to me. It’s not their fault, considering what they have been through, but I don’t want to look at them.

4) I am cognizant of the fact even at this late date, I probably still have a few career changes ahead of me. It is my intention that none of these will involve greeting “guests” at a big-box retail establishment.

We all have to make adjustments and do whatever is necessary to get by, and I will not disparage any man for the work he does, provided that work is honest in nature. I am simply suggesting there are jobs at which I would not excel, and I would prefer not to have to do them.

5) I have no intention of jumping out of any aircraft unless it is absolutely necessary. I gather many people find the experience exhilarating, but I don’t need that kind of stimulation.

Furthermore, as I look back over the years, it occurs to me I haven’t always made the best decisions or lived life by the standards to which I aspire. I am sometimes surprised I have made it as far as I have. I see no point in tempting The Fates with an easy opportunity to correct previous oversights by hexing my parachute and letting gravity do the rest.

6) I will not willingly submit to participating in any organization, activity, or living arrangement based solely on advanced age.

The key to remaining vital and alive is to mix with people of all ages (and preferably with varied backgrounds).

If the only choice is to sit around with a bunch of other inmates waiting for the Reaper to come and take me by the hand, the kindest thing would be to take me out back and shoot me now, because in my mind, I would already be dead.

When we are very young, our keepers surround us with people we don’t know, and tell us these are our friends. They tell us what to do and how to feel. For many unfortunate souls, this experience is repeated at the end of their lives. I didn’t enjoy it the first time around, and I don’t intend to be put in that position again.

7) I am not going to give up all the things I enjoy in exchange for a steady diet of whatever the current crop of quacks says is good for us. There won’t be any bland, tasteless swill on my menu.

I will continue to drink black coffee, English gin, and good wine, as much as I can get. Give me luscious layers of lasagne, classic curry, and chili hot enough to make me sweat. Whenever I get a chance, I will track down a Sammy’s pizza, or any pizza I can find, and if I can get that with a double dose of Italian sausage and extra cheese, so much the better.

For dessert, don’t forget the chocolate. I will gladly give up broccoli and brussels sprouts, but don’t try to deprive me of chocolate. And maybe some ice cream. And if there’s any cake left, I’ll have some of that, as well. It is absurd to try to extend the duration of our lives by taking the life out of our lives.

I’m sure if I give it some thought, I’ll be able to add to this list. When the authorities come to cart me off to a home for bewildered writers, I will keep a copy pinned to my bathrobe. I will also keep a good stout shillelagh handy, and I will pound knobs on the noggin of anyone who tries to force me to change.

I have always been more interested in quality of life than quantity. Composing an anti-bucket list will help me remember to live by my rules rather than someone else’s, and that’s what I intend to do.

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