I read an interesting list today on Esquire: 75 things every man should do. It was strung with such pearls as:
Make a perfect omelet (#8)
Leave yourself a letter in a library book. Look for it twenty years later (#12)
Toboggan, aggressively (#14)
Go to Paris for two weeks and not tell anyone (#73)
Bungee jump (#75)
And I wondered: who would do such things? An aggressive tobogganer, bungee jumping, omelet making, narcissist? Besides, anyone who can attempt the things on the list, like sleep outside for a week (#70) must have a pretty flexible job and a patient spouse. Most of the items on the list presume a pretty charmed life already, and then what's the point of the list? Lists are for people who can't decide, can't get organized, and need bullet points to get it in gear. Lists are not for people who carry totems around in their pockets (#22).
So, as a primer, here's my list of 20 things every man should do before doing the 75 things men should do before they die:
#1 Get off the couch
#2 Get really good at doing the laundry, ironing, and folding clothes
#3 While doing the laundry think about getting the rest of your shit together
#4 Clean the garage
#5 Leave your ex alone
#6 Realize you're not as funny as you think when you're wasted
#7 Never drive drunk again. Ever.
#8 Get a date. Plan the date. Get to know your date. Be prepared to pay for it all.
#9 Learn that innuendo, done incorrectly, is really creepy
#10 Stop being a dick
#11 Get your credit score above 700
#12 Do a flip off a diving board. Nail it. (Oh, wait. That was from the real article)
#13 Fall in love, and stay faithful as long as you're together. No exceptions.
#14 Cancel your cable or satellite service
#15 Become a parent
#16 Then become a good parent
#17 Spend some time actually listening to your significant other
#18 Call your mom once in a while
#19 Quit smoking pot
#20 Stop listening to people tell you what to do with your life
I know what you're saying:"geez man, those are so routine and boring!"
Exactly. I admire the person who dares to do the boring, really, really well. There's something heroic and self rewarding about it that, of course, has no place in modern society. It seems to require what most lists are always missing: character.