Things To Do

  1. Write list.
  2. Do things on list.
  3. Cross stuff off list.
  4. Repeat.

And so it goes with my life. Slowly, against my will, I am becoming a list person. As I have never been particularly organized, I am not sure how this happened, though I do like to blame my mother. After all, she's the one who doesn't consider a day to have begun until she has made a list. All through childhood, I mocked her relentlessly, of course. "Oh, wait, don't do that yet, Mom. You have to put it on your list first!" I would taunt her, that is until sometime in my early twenties when I realized that her silly little addiction had been passed along to me. Luckily, my lists are neither as prevalent nor as organized as hers, but give me another thirty years, and they may well be.

Like all compulsive list writers, my habit was born from necessity. If I don't write something down, chances are it just won't get done. Without a list, collapsing on a couch is about all I can remember to do when I get home from work. And along with that amnesia comes indifference as well. On some days, I just don't care enough to do all that needs to be done, but getting to cross something off my list? That excites me. Apparently, most list people are like this. We won't complete the task so that we can help you, but we will do it just so we can cross it off our stupid list and move onto something else.

Perhaps my low point came earlier this year when I moved into a new apartment. For that week my life was one gigantic list, as I scooted about town buying supply after supply for my apartment. One day, I was standing in the hardware store when I stumbled upon the perfect waste basket for my bathroom, I was thrilled until I noticed that I had forgotten to put the waste basket on my list of things to buy. And so in the middle of this hardware store I started to put everything I was holding down on the floor in order to write "waste basket" on my list -- just so I could experience the high that would come as I crossed it off a moment later. Luckily, I stopped myself, but not without realizing I had a problem, not without realizing that my very next list ought to be:

  1. Get a life.
  2. Stop with the stupid lists already.

I suppose there is a chance that a list like that might work. Who knows? The thrill I would get from crossing "stop with the stupid lists already" off my list might be just enough to make me stop. Then again, I know that's wishful thinking. Once you become a list person, it is impossible to stop.

It's not all that bad though. At least, I'll get stuff done. Plus, with only a few more words, I will be able to cross off one more item from my list:

Write column about lists.

Now, if only I could get around to cleaning my bathroom, then everything on my list would be crossed off. And I would be a happy man.

Copyright 1999 by Joe Lavin
Joe Lavin's Humor Column is published every Tuesday at:

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Submitted By: Joe Lavin
Sep 27, 1999 13:05

This joke is rated: PG