I’ve got a bone to pick with Morgan Freeman. Or, rather, I have a bone to pick with whoever wrote the movie The Bucket List. Morgan Freeman was just the actor who got to say the lines about the list of things he wanted to do before he kicked the bucket. He and Jack Nicholson played terminally ill old(er) ‘boys’ sharing a cancer ward in hospital. When Morgan told Jack about his bucket list, that was that. Bad boy Jack convinces good boy Morgan to get the hell out of hospital with him, and the pair of them can do Morgan’s list together, with Jack’s money gained from being a nasty tycoon, before they kick the bucket.
It spawned a bloody social movement. Suddenly, everyone had a bucket list of things to tick off, before they kicked the bucket. And you didn’t have to be old to have one. This was supposed to make you feel fulfilled, and that you were making the most out life. I tried to make one, too, being the sort of person back then who didn’t have better ideas of my own. It ended up being a dismal mish-mash of changing and waning enthusiasms. For me, the bucket list is a big fail – but I’m building up an impressive fuck-it list instead.
I tried playing the game according to the rules, but nothing stuck on the list all that well. They ended up either falling off, or withering and dying from not being loved enough. Everything I thought of had its roots in savvy promotion and marketing by the likes of travel companies. To be fair, many of the trips and wondrous sights they promote really are wondrous and worth the trip, and if someone said to me “let’s do this wonderous and worthwhile trip” I’d probably be keen. I’m not that determined to not have a good time. But none of it is a ‘must do’. It ends up being more along the lines of a could-be-good-to-do, or the more horrible should-do. I’ve never had any problem making a list of should-do’s, but I don’t want them on my bucket list. So, they make up a lot of my fuck-it list.
My theory is that if I don’t know what I want, a list of what I don’t want will hopefully get rid of the mind clutter. Technically, once the junk is cleared away, the path is easier to see. That’s the theory. And I have to be prepared for the possibility that my bucket list won’t have anything on it that will make a good story to tell afterwards, and zero pictures of me having fun in exotic locations to show. My bucket list might be weirdly unexciting to anyone else. I have to prepare myself for ‘the look’ that is actually saying “seriously – that’s what you’re going to do?” Not that I’m a complete stranger to that look, actually.
Let me relay a memory, which is strangely lodged in my memory banks, which is nothing to do with ‘the look’, except that I might have given it to someone else. A guy walks into a bar ……… just kidding, he was a Quaker. Anyway, he and a group of fellow Quakers went on an organ tour of Holland a couple of years ago. Organs, as in musical instruments. Now, those kind of organs don’t excite me enough to take a tour of them, but I was very taken by the bizarreness of it. It probably wasn’t bizarre to him at all, although he did have a strange wee smile on his face when he told me. But that was when I realised that my bucket list needed to be niche and nerdy and just a little bit not-normal, too, rather than a grand one with all the bells and whistles.
So, the more I consign to the fuck-it list, the more I have to search in dark and obscure places for the kind of stuff I want on my bucket list. Once the all the beautiful trips, sightseeing tours, and big-girl toys have been discarded as not bucket list material (but not discarded altogether, in case anyone is thinking of inviting me on a trip to Italy, or giving me a Maserati) I’m hoping some way-bizarre stuff will be found. Once the ‘beautiful clutter’ is cleared, I’m hoping that the “fuck yeah” list will appear – preferably before I kick the bucket.
Star Trek convention, anyone? Or, bookshop tour of Antarctica, perhaps? How does a crash course in cat burglary sound? Of course, I would only rob from the arseholes of the world – if I was going to put that on my list. Which I’m not. Honest.
Header pic by Gregory Culmer.