As far as I’m concerned, bucket lists are a bit like a venereal disease: I’m happy for other people to have one, as long as they keep it to themselves. They’re hideously contagious, exhausting and on the increase – you seem to see them mentioned everywhere. The whole concept has become part of the current collective consciousness and nowadays you can’t be on a social network for five minutes or have a simple, drunken get-together in a pub without them cropping up in conversation.
I should probably make it clear at this stage that this in no way includes lists made by people who are terminally ill, that’s something quite different. Under those circumstances (the only really valid reason for making such a list, in my opinion) a bucket list becomes something terribly sad, poignant and, perhaps, brave even; certainly not something that deserves to be casually mocked on a half-baked little blog like this one.
Nor does it apply to anyone who has compiled a bucket list in the true manner they were not intended – i.e. with lashings of sarcasm and irony. Actually, I thoroughly approve of those and would urge you to send me a link to them so that I can enjoy them with you.
No, my flippant opinions are reserved for those people who are in perfectly good health, with probably at least another 40-60 years of shallowness ahead of them, who still feel it necessary to create a list of goals, so pointless and inane that it makes things such as Red Or Black, the entire cast of TOWIE – yes, even Joey Essex, and plastic sporks look like relevant and valuable cornerstones of modern society.
The thing that always strikes me most about the majority of bucket lists is their complete lack of reality and their composer’s total failure to grasp their true purpose. In recent weeks I have seen, or been told, that items on bucket lists include, amongst other things:
- Sing with Celine Dion in Las Vegas.
- Own a Birkin bag in every colour available.
- Date someone famous.
- Have over 10,000 friends on Facebook.
- Receive over 1000 hits on a blog post.
Honestly, my brain couldn’t be more boggled if an Oompah Loompah stopped me and asked for directions to the nearest Lidl in Klingon.
Perhaps my understanding is faulty… but I thought ‘bucket list’ derived from the term ‘kick the bucket’? That it is literally a list of the things you want to achieve before you go to the big
Noel’s House Party in the sky? Not, as the above suggests, the things you want to achieve before your fictional character is killed off in an episode of Gossip Girl.
Why, in the name of all that is superficial, would anyone, other than maybe Lisa Scott Lee or Four Poofs & A Piano, want to sing with Celine Dion? How is having over 10,000 Facebook ‘friends’ going to bring you comfort when the Grim Reaper decides it’s time to play Twister chess? And how likely is it that your death rattle will be accompanied by the thought ‘Oh, if only I’d bought a handbag in tangerine!’?
It’s extremely unlikely. As someone who has been in a position where their continued existence was – shall we say, a little uncertain – I can assure you that you’re too busy making deals with a God you’re not even sure exists, to worry about how many people were bored and confused enough to read your blog post on scented candles.
I confess though, I did once try to make a bucket list; it was during that uncertain time and at the suggestion of a friend who thought it might help, even if only by distracting my thoughts for a while. This is what I came up with:
- Eat a Mars Bar on MARS!!!! Double Decker on a double-decker bus.
- Watch Mamma Mia! again and try to understand the people who think it’s good. the complete series of Vicar of Dibley… particularly the bit with the farting duck, because farting ducks are hilarious.
- Become a vegetarian. Oh, fuck that shit if I really am dying Eat bacon EVERY SINGLE DAY.
- AARGH! STOP MAKING STUPID LISTS!!!
Reality is a big stumbling block when it comes to making a bucket list unless, like J R R Tolkien, Terry Pratchett or Nadine Dorries, reality holds no lure for you and you simply disregard it completely. I realised this as soon as I wrote my first goal. I mean, really, I am never going to make it to the planet Mars, and even if I did – you can bet your giant Toblerone I would’ve eaten that Mars Bar long before I got there.To be honest, I’m not even likely to eat a Double Decker on a double-decker – when I was compiling my list I forgot to factor in that stench all buses have of damp anoraks, impotent rage and ancient vomit, designed for optimum appetite subjugation. It’s an unrealistic goal, so don’t bother putting it on the list. The same goes for something like ‘Date someone famous’… I assure you, unless you’re stunning, disgustingly rich and/or famous too – in which case, you’re probably too busy partying with the Kardashians and being impregnated by footballers to make a bucket list – the chances of a celebrity (including Chuckle Brothers, Cheeky Girls and Jimmy Krankee) even breathing the same air as you is slimmer than a performing flea’s unitard. Give it up. Go for something you can actually achieve – like a criminal record.
Once you’ve committed yourself to only listing things that are achievable it becomes even harder to find things to add. Of course there are hundreds of things that would be fun, but you have to ask yourself… just how important are they, really? I think it would be fun and rewarding to have six cats and call them Dave, Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich, but I wouldn’t exactly be devastated if I died before this could become a reality. I’d be quite content to snuff it with just one cat called Dave – as long as I could have a goat called Geoff, too. Similarly, there are things we’d all like in our life, such as a loving partner or perhaps children of our own, but I don’t think these have any business being on a bucket list. In my opinion, anyone who can seriously include ‘Meet the man/woman of my dreams’ on any kind of list deserves to die alone, smelling heavily of goat cack.
I know this is all very negative, but I honestly can’t think of anything positive to say about bucket lists. They make me feel sad and growly inside, because all the while people are sitting there churning out these ridiculous, futile exercises in delusion and procrastination they are literally wasting time. It niggles me that so many people fail to realise just how precious time is, or how scarily fleeting it can be. It makes me want to scream ‘STOP WASTING TIME!’ and throw heavy, cast iron alarm clocks at their heads, just to prove a point in a really rubbish but satisfying way.
Seriously, if you really feel a need to make some kind of list – make it something worthwhile, a list that is going to make you feel good and your life better.
Like a Fuck-It List.
Yes, a Fuck-It list. I think it could revolutionise the world. Here’s mine, by way of an example:
- I should really eat more healthily – but fuck it! I like crisps more than I like most people I know, so I’m going to eat more crisps.
- I would like to be fitter and not get out of breath when changing TV channels – but fuck it! Excessive exercise makes me sweaty and turn an unsexy shade of ‘Fat Bastard Red’ and makes my hair go really flat, so I’m going to buy a recliner chair with inbuilt ‘massage’ controls instead.
- Piers Morgan is probably not as bad as he appears to be, I should probably try to be more understanding and tolerant of him – but fuck it! He has a freakishly small, girls mouth and keeps doing that thing where he talks out loud. So I will increase the amount continue to send the hate mail.
- I am young and have nice hair, I should mingle more, at least until I’ve found a man to do sex with on a regular basis – but fuck it! That would mean interacting with other people on a large-scale and other people are weird and complicated, so I will stay in forever more and just have lots of cats to transfer my affections to.
See how that works? All realistic, all very achievable, so you never have to mentally berate yourself or reaffirm your self-imposed ‘loser’ status. And let’s face it, it’s got to be more fun than dragging yourself up a really big mountain or learning to Paso Doble in gold lamé shoes.