We’re thinking ol’ Bob Seger, if he hasn’t been there already, is probably re-thinking his travel plans. That was a hum-dinger of an earthquake there the other day, with serious loss of life and property damage. When the quake struck there were actually people – including Americans and other Westerners – in the process of climbing Mt. Everest, which is sort of Nepal’s Kennywood, by way of local amusement venues. Plate tectonics is the culprit. Those forces have been jamming the Indian plate into the Eurasian plate for the last 50 million years, forming the Himalaya range. Anything powerful enough to raise the highest mountains in the world is powerful enough to flick you off of one like a bug off a windshield. We certainly don’t want to make light of a tragedy, but it occurred to us that these climbers probably had “visiting Katmandu” and “climbing Mt. Everest” on their “bucket list.” This is a concept that has its origin in a 2007 movie starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, and generally refers to a list of things a person wants to do before they “kick the bucket”, i.e., die. The Idler doesn’t approve of bucket lists (nor of the “rhymes-with-bucket” list proposed by the president which we’re pretty sure is an entirely different thing).
For one thing, they’re morbid. How can you relax and have any fun when in the back of your mind you’re worried about getting it done before you croak? For another thing, there’s the element of hubris, which is a Greek word meaning too big for one’s toga. Listen, slick, you don’t get to pick when you’re checking into the mahogany Hilton. That’s in the hands of the Almighty, or the great mandala or buried somewhere in your lame-o chromosomes. All those people climbing the mountain weren’t preoccupied with the idea of kicking the bucket. They were imagining how awesome their digital pics were going to look on Facebook when they got back to Wilmerding. “Oh look, honey, let’s get a selfie with the avalanche!”
Intergalactic archaeologists from Zeta-Reticuli will unearth their Nikon 3,500 years from now and bust an antenna laughing. “Hey Zorf! Check out these frozen bi-pedal losers! Ha-ha! They didn’t even have levitation devices! Meanwhile they had a source of unimaginable power right in front of them and never realized it. Their ancient texts refer to them as ‘halupkis.’”
Some of those baseball fans in Baltimore last week probably had “See a game in Camden yards” on their bucket list. Now they can also check off “See a riot outside Camden Yards,” assuming they emerged unscathed.
We feel that if you must indulge in bucket-listing, you should start off with modest goals. Maybe you’d like to visit every tavern in the tri-state area that serves Guinness stout on tap. This should take you a little while – they don’t call it a pub “crawl” for nothing – and give you an appreciation for local pothole topography and traffic patterns. Next I think it would be fun and informative to test every make of recliner currently on the market. There used to be a big La-Z-Boy showroom on Rt. 51, but now it would probably take you at least a month to try out each of their and other manufacturers’ models, even at the rate of several per day. This could even be combined with the Guinness pub crawl – just be sure to have a designated driver and/or someone to wake you up. Look at it this way, if you’re going to kick the bucket, at least you’ll go peacefully.
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