Lists are my favorite. When I need to remind myself how organized I can be, I write a list. Even if I just have a single thought, I sometimes number it so that it feels like the beginning of a list. I’ve never been one for carrying out plans, but thinking about carrying out plans, and then putting those plans in sequence, can really turn me on. I’m sure I’m not alone here.
Every so often, though, I find myself compelled to make a list, but without necessary list-making tools (pad and pen). For these moments, I make a mental note of the list, to be written at a later point. Usually, I only have a couple entries for the list at the point of conception. Now that I’ve accumulated a number of these mental notes, it’s time to organize them in a list of the lists I want to make, which I present to you here.
1. I need a list of productive things to do before I decide to get high and watch a movie. I’ll call this list ‘Before you get high and watch a movie, Ben, try out some of these SWEET activities!’ The list will contain a slew of buzz-killing directives like “Fill out another job application for the co-op or movie theater,” “Sort the clothes on your bedroom floor into ‘Clean’ and ‘Dirty’ piles,” “Memorize a poem to impress the ladies,” “Do some push-ups or sit-ups. If you’re not feeling that, maybe just get some solid stretching in.”
2. I’d like a ‘Bits of overheard conversation’ list. “‘Dude I told you to not say anything to her about my recipe.’ ‘What? It’s a great recipe!’ ‘IT’S FOR A COMPETITION!’”
3. I want to make a list of Interesting People I see who I want to incorporate into a screenplay or short story. Some of these people who pique my interest are:
The mom who takes her son to play super-average thrash metal compositions at open mics and then misguidedly gives him suggestions on how to get the crowd more into it; Randy and JoAnn, two rich, divorced septuagenarians who make eyes at each other every day at the casino and flirt by whispering secretive drink orders for each other to Winter, the waitress: A shot of Hennessey and Ginger Ale with lemon, respectively; Frank the homeless guy who watches psychedelia on YouTube at the library and wears his name and the day’s date on a piece of cardboard taped above his glasses because he’s scared of having his picture taken and the photographer being unable to identify him.
4. Rad names to have on lock for future bongs/ hard drives/ children/ what-have-you. Solomon; Orson; Amory Blaine; Lolita; Sally the Destructor; Kim Novak; Scout; Staff Sergeant Max Fightmaster; Buster, etc.
5. Sweet catch phrases to say after I do something bad ass. “Back o’ the line!” “He’s makin’ a meal of it!” “And that’s that!” “Don’t blink next time.” “Tell your friends.”
6. I’ve never made a ‘Bucket List.’ No list of lists is complete without this Lord of Lists, the King of Columns, Emperor of Enumerations, if you will. So let’s take a stab at it. Some of the things I might like to do before I die include producing a grandly god-awful hip-hop album, which will feature the musical scrabbling of myself, along with each of my intensely amateur musician/rapper-friends; being the dude with the perma-hoarse throat who courageously leads the chants at Sounders games for an entire soccer season; directing Choose Your Own Adventure: The Movie ©; orchestrating a huge street art project; S&M; something illegal with a nun (or otherwise professionally repressed person); knit a scarf; hire a quartet for a day to play a live soundtrack for my life.
7. Clever things to say that I thought of way too late. “In English they call that pedophilia,” “Sex doesn’t have to be an exclusive activity!” “From here?” “Well that depends how many you want.”
There you have it. I think we have the beginnings of a solid list of lists to make in the future, and a tribute to the joy, wonder, and structure that lists provide to our everyday lives.
And that’s that!