The bucket list came to prominence in the late 1800s, but back then was known as, “#%@ I want to do before I die list.” The term “bucket list” was popularized by the film of the same name. Now, we are inundated with stories of 80-year-old women jumping out of planes to fulfill items on their bucket lists. Not to be outdone by 80-year-old women, I have devised my own ten item list.
1. Never go skydiving – I have no desire to jump out of a plane. I think this stems from my desire to not die jumping out of a plane. Did you know that 30 people die each year from skydiving accidents? Do you know why? Because they jumped out of a #%@* plane! The first known successful skydiving jump was made by Andre-Jacques Garnerin, who made parachute jumps from a hot-air balloon in 1797. He said that his decision to attempt his skydiving jump was born from his desire to see the earth coming at him really, really, really fast, but not have it hit him like a son-of-a-bitch. Garnerin is also credited with coining the phrase, “son-of-a-bitch.” It's not that I'm not adventurous. For God's sake, I just drank a fruit fly in my red wine, but I just don't want to die jumping out of a perfectly good plane.
2. Stop and smell the roses – This just seemed like good sound advice so I put it on my list. I actually accomplished this feat in 1989. It was pleasant, but not a “wow” moment. All in all, I was disappointed. I think a dog may have peed on the roses I chose to smell.
3. Never go scuba diving – We can't breathe underwater. It's as simple as that. We weren't made that way. Why do we insist on giving God the finger and doing it anyway? I don't want to do anything that provides me with a stopwatch telling me how long I can do it before I die. They literally give you a watch that times how long you can stay underwater until you die. Enough said. I also have a fear of being eaten by a shark. So I made a vow to myself that I would try to limit my direct contact with sharks. My first step was to not go scuba diving. The second step...well, there really wasn't a second step because the first covered most potential shark encounters. And even though I do go swimming in the ocean, I always make sure I swim near people that look tastier and more seal-like than I.
4. Do not attempt to climb a big mountain – Nothing about mountain climbing looks appealing. The higher you get, the colder it gets and the oxygen levels get lower. And truthfully, there's nothing up there. I know that supposedly you get this feeling of accomplishment, but I can get that from mowing the grass. And there is no real danger that I will fall off of my grass and die. My real problem with mountain climbing is that I'm not really sure what we are trying to accomplish. When you get to the top, you kind of stand there for a second and then it hits you, “#$%@, now I've got to climb back down.” It just seems like a big let down.
5. Become the Pope – This one is going to be a challenge for multiple reasons–the biggie being that I'm not Catholic. But just like Obama became the first black President, I will knock down barriers and become the first non-Catholic Pope. Let's be honest, being the Pope would probably be pretty cool. People kneel down and kiss your hand, they confess their sins to you all the time and of course, you would get to ride in the Pope Mobile. I haven't figured out where to obtain an application to become the Pope just yet, but I'm sure I can find an it online. I think if KIA started producing a Pope Mobile, my desire to actually be Pope would wane, but until then I will keep this one on the list.
As I look at the first five items on my bucket list, I realize something very important. I don't have a clue how much time I have to accomplish all of this or what happens if I don't accomplish every single one of these items. Will my life then be deemed a failure? Will people say, “That Phil had an ok life, but he never became the Pope”?
Stop back in two weeks for the rest of my list.