Here is my Bouchercon hiatus choice this year. It contains advice I am sure cannot be said enough. Please heed it. If you really want to do something, do it NOW!
This past week, Kate Gallison—my blogmate on Crime Writers’ Chronicle, in honor of a significant birthday, wrote a list of things she is not going to do. She inspired me to invent a phrase that I hope will become a trend: The Fucket List.
I am hoping to counteract a parallel trend—The Bucket List. It started in 2007 with a movie of that name. Directed by Rob Reiner, it stars Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman as a pair of terminally ill patients, who decide to ditch the doctors and go off on a world-wide odyssey in pursuit of all the things they want to do before kicking the bucket. The film was predictable, but amusing thanks to the irresistible charm of its costars.
The notion that one should make and keep a bucket list struck a nerve with the larger public and gave rise to a plethora of bucket-list-specific stationery items and advice books. Ordinary people started talking bucket lists around the dinner table.
Most of the books seem designed to make the reader feel inadequate. For instance, I have visited thirty-seven countries and pretty much all the places I most wanted to see. But then, in an aisle of the Strand Bookstore, I opened that list of 1000 places I am supposed to see before I die. What a piker I am! How could I have gotten this old and not seen the Taj Mahal, Anarctica, the Hermitage, Sydney, or sailed through the Straits of Gibraltar? What’s wrong with me?
When my dear husband and intrepid traveling companion was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, we found that his cousin who is twelve years younger was in the same boat. That cousin’s wife and sister started making big plans for him. They asked if I were thinking of doing the same. “Are you going to do David’s bucket list?”
“No,” I said, already a bit sick of the whole concept.
“But what about all the places that David has always wanted to go?”
What about them? Actually, we did our list as we went along.
You see, I had learned young not to put off my life satisfactions. When I was barely out of college, I went to work in the HR Department of a Wall Street bank. On my first day on the job, in the elevator I met a man named Earl. When he got on the car, I was already there and had pressed five. “You are going to my floor,” he said. “No,” I replied. “You are going to mine.” Cheeky then. Cheeky now.
Earl liked plucky women. We struck up a friendship. He was at the other career end from me. At Friday lunches in the bank cafeteria, he would count down for me how many days to his retirement. 178…94…59….31…..10. All the while regaling me with his plans for how he and his wife were going off to see the world. His retirement lunch was planned for the following Thursday. But he died that Sunday. I promised myself then, that I would not put off anything I really wanted to do.
So when David took sick with his dreadful disease at only 68, I was able to console myself that we had walked all over this globe together. No regrets about that. The memories are splendid.
Now when people start a sentence with “Someday I want to….” I say: “DO IT NOW.”
You should you know. You never know what is coming. DO IT NOW.
The very concept of a bucket list annoys me. I say what we all need is Fucket List: a list of the things we will not do. Mine consists largely of things that I used to do that I am giving up.
Annamaria’s Fucket List (a work in progress)
I will not:
- Fret over whether other people might disapprove of my life decisions.
- Be polite to people who are being rude to me.
- Worry that I look fat.
- Keep reading books that bore me.
- Eat at bad restaurants because other people like them.
- Apologize for having a messy desk or a dirty car.
- Feel stupid because I am afraid to drive over the George Washington Bridge.
- Wait more than a half-hour for my doctor’s appointment, unless my life is on the line.
- Pass up an opportunity to eat good chocolate.
- Concentrate only on what I should do, and not on what I want to do.
- Accept gloom when joy is readily available.
Okay, mystery writers and fans. What about you? Will you join me and make your Fucket list?
Here is a motto for us to write at the top of our Fucket lists. Straight from the grandfather of crime fiction—Edgar Allan Poe: NEVERMORE!
Annamaria - Monday