This Is A List

Jul. 17, 2012
Oliver is a vague personage, of no fixed residence -- sort of a wandering poet-warrior who makes his own rules, if ...

1)  The Beginning Of The List

The list begins. But what will it be a list of? Ten Real World Cast Members And What They’re Doing Now? The 20 Best 80s Jams Of All Time? Top 5 Disturbing Sexual Positions? Or will it be a list of something more obscure, like, What Your Favorite Vegetable Says About You?

In any case, there are only two possibilities with the list. Either you are interested in the topic, or — more intriguingly – you are not interested in the topic. If you have all of Real World: San Diego still preserved on pristine VHS tapes in your living room, then reading a list about that is a real no-brainer. But on the other hand, why would you want to read about what your favorite vegetable says about you? How will this information help you in any way? “But it’s a list, so it’s short,” you say to yourself without realizing that you are saying that to yourself.

2) The List Deepens

The deepening of the list. The initial heading… or numbered thingy on the list established the list, its joie de vivre, its raison d’être. But now, we plunge deeper into the ontology of the list. Sure, you learned from the first entry that Jacinda from Real World: London is a prostitute now, but the list must give you more. But… who are you, anyway?

3) The List Starts To Address You As A Whole

You are a person who likes things in lists. You would not want to read a whole essay about vegetables — all those blocks of text, so chunky — but if the information is presented in bite-sized form, you can handle that. You are the person standing next to his or her cupboard drawer, eating Keebler Chips Deluxe Peanut Butter Cups Cookies, one by one. You would not take the entire package of cookies to the dinner table, sit down, and eat them there; no, you would not do that — that’s a lot of commitment, plus, fattening. But you will eat the entire package of cookies one by one, while indecisively standing next to the cupboard.

So, that’s you. And is that our entire society, our entire culture right now? Luckily, this is a question that is beyond the purview of this list.

4) The List Starts To Disappoint You

Much like a person whose belly has been stuffed with too many Keebler Chips Deluxe Cookies, you start to feel bloated, and unsatisfied with the list. Are you really going to read all of this sh-t? No. Well, maybe just one more item on the listicle. …But perhaps the list will find other ways to charm you, to keep your interest. Like, embedded video content! Or, pictures! Pictures of things that you can recognize.

You greatly enjoy things that you can recognize.

5) The List Redeems Itself

Way to go, list! Good job, list! Good on ya, list! The list is like that guy “Rudy” in Rudy, redeeming itself like that. Why is the list redeeming itself? Because the list is almost over. You can see, by peering down the page, that the list is almost over. And you have read this far, so why not read a little more. Why not just actually finish something, for once in your god-curséd life? Why not indeed?

6) The End Of The List

The list has given you some laughs, some information, hopefully some things to reflect upon. Now, it is time for the list to exit. To exit gracefully, like a ballerina exiting gracefully from the stage. A way for the list to do this is with a mild joke. Unless the list is about something awful — “10 Groadiest Genocides.” In which case, maybe not.

Otherwise, the list will get out of this situation with a joke. Not an actual funny joke, mind you. More like a co-worker sort of joke. You know how, when you’re standing, talking to a co-worker at their cubicle, and you either need to go to the bathroom or go to lunch, which is what you were goddamn trying to do in the first place? So you seize a moment, perhaps a heightened moment in conversation, and say something that isn’t even funny, but you say it louder and in a “jokey” tone of voice. Like this:

Person one: Blah blah.

Person two: Blah.

Person one: Blah blah BLAH BLAH blah blah. Ha ha!

Person two: Ha ha!

Person one: Goodbye!

Person two: Bye!

…And so that is how the list makes its exit. With a “not-joke” joke. It’s not really funny, but you recognize it as being a joke. And so, that is how the list leaves you; not with a bang, but with a whimper. TC mark

Author’s note:  The author originally wrote this article on June 28th, according to the composition history that is saved with each article. Then he thought, hey, maybe for once in his life, he should shop an article around, maybe try to make a little more money for an article? So he didn’t publish this essay and then on July 6th, a Mr. Tao Lin published an article on Thought Catalog that was very similar to this article, except that this article is funnier than his article, but still, the author screamed in frustration when he saw that. AAAAAAAAAAH, he screamed.

So, two conclusions may be drawn from all of this: (1) The author was justifiably punished for his authorial greed and hubris. (2) This article was meant to satirize the over-abundance of lists, but now it’s part of an over-abundance of lists satirizing other lists — which is… irony? But not the literary definition of irony; more like the Alanis Morissette definition of irony, which is how we all use the word “irony” now anyway — language is fluid, people, and we don’t use “irony” in the 19th century manner anymore; so maybe everyone could just adjust to that, and stop saying “But that’s not REALLY irony” whenever that song comes on, which, it doesn’t come on much anymore, but still. Anyway, the meaning of irony has changed, is what I was saying. Also I got screwed, is what I was saying. So in conclusion, the author would like to apologize for all of this, especially for this author’s note.


Oliver Miller

Oliver Miller

Oliver is a vague personage, of no fixed residence — sort of a wandering poet-warrior who makes his own rules, if …

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