Aug 052010

You are a sad sack of zero erudition or achievement: the cat hisses on your return home, and toilets don’t flush for you; if you were a fire hydrant, even the mutts would ignore you. Your pay scale is constantly reworked downwards, and the village idiot gets promoted faster. The family constantly finds ways to have dinner, go out or head off on vacation without you. Years of being browbeaten by your boss, your wife and your kids has left you a neurotic mass of twitching nerves heading nowhere quickly.

You start feeling strange pains that are unrelated to the sums of money everyone keeps asking you for, or the indigestion their cooking inevitably engenders. When – after six months of making appointments – you finally get to see the specialist, he mentions rather offhandedly – while perusing his morning mail – that you have one year to live (and then takes a call from his golf pro).

You return home, ignore the cat, kick the mutt, shout at the family, then lock yourself up in the Harry Potter style broom closet that is now your personal study, and contemplate the negative space your totally insignificant and useless life has become.  After considering that maybe the Great Hereafter might be a trade-up, you get that mulish obstinate look in your eye very remniscient of the aforementioned promotable idiot as he is passing gas (usually in your cubicle), and something happens.

A light grows in your eye, music (and your bony chest) swells, nostrils flare, you stand up straight for the first time in decades (immediately wincing and grabbing your spleen), and make a vow that life will not beat you.  You make a solemn oath to the effect that there are ten things you intend to do, no matter how crazy or unlike your normal character’s modus operandi, before you croak and get planted (cremated actually, and your ashes fertilize the apple tree – it costs a few grand less).

You sit down, clutch pad and paper, rest it on the bony and arthritic knees which are drawn up to your chest, and start to write the Ultimate Bucket List…..

Start your engines, gentlemen, and let’s have your submissions of the ten things you really want to do before you die.  Quickly, now….it could be tomorrow, and I want to know if any of your list items concern me.

  10 Responses to “The Bucket List”

  1. (1 of 10) Have dinner on the Champs d’Elysee in Paris on December 31 within sight of the Eiffel Tower

    (2 of 10) Drive (better yet, own) a supercar…any supercar, as long as it costs upwards of six figures.

  2. 1) Climb Everest.

    2) Publish. Even a short story.

    3) Be given a whisky that is at least 50 years old.

    4) Hit the stage again. I miss making noise and drinking beer in front of people.

  3. The longer I think about this, the harder it becomes, because you want to have a total life experience and not just a few wannabes that sound good or write well. The choices I make here are things I actually have to work towards.

    To use events from my past, here are two seminal events which I think are worthy of mention, and are the sort of things I would have liked to see on a list someday: I lived and worked and travelled on the Silk Road and breathed the thin air of the Tien Shan mountains; and I saw an original print of the 1927 film “Metropolis” in Berlin after its restoration in 1997.

    Finding something else to add to stuff like this will take some thinking, for sure.

  4. 1 – Catch and release a really big Marlin (while drinking single malt scotch and smoking a really big Cuban)

    2 – Kayak the Broken Island Group off the coast of BC (later in the evening around a camp fire drink single malt scotch and smoke a really big Cuban)

    More to follow .


    Your imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions

  5. (3 of 10) Learn how to fix cars so well that I can restore one

    (4 of 10) Take a picture that makes the cover of National Geographic

  6. Much of what interests me is travel and the exploration of foreign places…of the mind as much as of the globe. Not the well-known stuff on the tourist trail, but small, out of the way craziness that doesn’t cater to any but the nutjobs like me who have the lack of sense to actually try going there. And so:

    (5 of 10). Retrace Francis Younghusband’s epic 1886-1887 journey from Peking to Kashmir by way of Kashgar (Peter Hopkirk’s magisterial “The Great Game” has a good account of it); then take the steam train from northern India to Delhi.

    (6 of 10) Spend a season in Antarctica

    (7 of 10) Ride the Pan-American Highway by motorbike

    (8 of 10) Write a book that actually gets published

  7. Couple at a time.

    This is a tough one.

  8. 3 – Live at a Tibetan Monastery and create Mandala sand paintings all day to explore my subconscious to hopefully achieve a state of Nirvana, not! What I really would like to do for number three is live and work on Islay in the Lagavulin Distillery. In the evenings listen to some locale music while drinking single malt scotch and smoking a large Cuban cigar.

    4 – Canoe from West to East across Canada like the old Voyageurs (with modern equipment). Would probably just drink Highland Park single malt for the trip to honor the connection between that distillery and the Company of Adventures Hudson Bay Company. And yes I would bring cigars along only to keep the mosquitoes away.

  9. UP to four now.

    Must add…I like the way MM thinks. Lots of drinking and smoking and smoking and drinking.

  10. (9 of 10) Cook well enough to make my family eat it and ask for seconds.

    (10 of 10) Live past a hundred and still have a razor sharp mind that is engaged in everything around me. I want to be the favourite old fart of the grandkids and great-grandkids, and the patriarch of the clan who can still throw a mean party and outdrink my son and daughter while having a great bellylaugh.

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