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Dump ‘Em Now: All Those Useless Bucket List Ideas


So, What’s With The Bucket List Thing?

Dump your bucket list ideas. They’re useless and tiresome, and it’s a bad conversation you’re having with yourself.

By David Stone

Assorted Ideas, Large & Small

Best Reasons for Dumping Your Cringe-Worthy Bucket List Ideas

  • Fact: “Bucket list” is yanked out of a grim euphemism — “kick the bucket,” suicide by hanging.
  • If #1 above isn’t enough, then, there’s the bad idea that your life has gaps in it.
  • Bucket lists fill with things not done, places not seen. You’re missing out.
  • Advertising assaults us everywhere, repeatedly reminding us we’re missing out, and the only solution is in buying something

Where Do Bucket Lists Come From?

Referring to death as kicking the bucket since my teen years, I see no way to spin it positively. But most who use the phrase have no ideal

man in t shirt holding a red bucket
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Kicking the bucket meant hanging by kicking the bucket you were standing on out from under you, a noose around your neck.

But Rob Reiner’s dreadful movie with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson lamely tried to insert romantic fantasies into the minds of dying men, as an alternative. Even with two men of enormous talent, it was far from successful.

One good reason to dump your bucket list ideas is because they all look a lot like the holes Madison Avenue is always telling us we have in our lives.

A one-hour immersion in prime-time television tells me my truck isn’t tough enough, I need more testosterone, a smoking habit will kill me, my beer isn’t cold enough, and I need a better lawn mower for my apartment.

But do we need advertising to pitch us more holes for ourselves?

No matter how long we live, there are beaches on which the sand will never squeeze itself between our toes. There are exotic cities we will never see and dream lovers we will never find.

I’ve walked beaches from the Amalfi coast to Coney Island, and I don’t understand why I might waste time hankering for the ones I haven’t gotten to yet.

We’ve ridden vaporettos through Venetian waterways and strained our legs climbing to the top of Montmartre. If we never have fried rice in Shanghai, will it all have been in vain?

Any of us can get a thrill thinking about what we’ve added to our chest of treasured memories.

Do we need Madison Avenue or a bucket list to remind us we aren’t perfect and can never be?

We really aren’t, are we? How insufferable would we be, is we were?

A Reverse Bucket List

Memes are habits, as likely good as bad, that run threads through the social fabric.

Yet we mistake them for truths, just because.

The bucket list thing is a “just because.”

Every time we add something to our personal bucket list, we mark a shortcoming in our lives. We haven’t done enough or seen enough or met enough. So, a bullet point must be added.

Dump your bucket list ideas makes sense, but intuition demands a reverse bucket emptying list.

Reverse Bucket List Ideas:

  • I’ve been lucky enough to have three wonderful women agree to marry me. Two actually did. One stuck.
  • I earned over a million dollars in less than ten years and saved a lot of it.
  • My wife and I traveled all over the United States and much of Europe.
  • And topping that, we live in New York, one of the world’s great cities.
  • As a teenager, I wanted more than anything else to write novels. I now have a half-dozen ready and waiting for you to enter your credit card information on Amazon.
  • We have beautiful cats. I get a kick out of sharing my life with them every day.

New York Times Reverse Bucket List

But we get one more reason to hate bucket lists.

True to the spirit of newspapering that demands, if you can’t find enough negative news, you can always make something up, the New York Times published a “reverse bucket list.”

They asked readers to send in the one thing they never want to experience in New York, but you’d have to use your imagination for bad ideas, wouldn’t you?


Let’s just say that along with the richest, most creative and best-educated people, we also have our quota of the stupidest and dullest.

Who has the time to think up horrors for such a list?

Oh, and just to reinforce their snarky creds, the Times included a link to a study written up in the always sturdy New York Post that shows that New York is America’s unhappiest city.

Geniuses from Harvard, a university almost wholly responsible for the crisis in American business ethics, and the University of British Columbia had nothing better to do with research dollars than to rig a study that gave them the headline they wanted for media recognition.

Never mind that the survey they culled (and tweaked) to get the result they wanted never asked about unhappiness, nor did they define the term. They and the New York Times got the negativity they wanted.

It keeps the presses rolling.

My Bucket List Ideas

Well, yes, I do need to say more.

It really is the age of taking action, according to the Viagra people, after all. And, really, everyone else has a bucket list. Why shouldn’t I?

My bucket list may be challenging, but heck, I’ve got a couple of good decades still in me. I can do it.

So, here goes:

  • I want to know God better. Might as well start big. God’s too big to know in the factual sense, but not too big to spiritually share.
  • I want to find new, creative ways to help others, including the animals I adore. Reducing the horror of homeless families would be a thrill as would increasing the awareness of people who vote and really run our countries.
  • I want to have more friends, something of which we can never overload.
  • Staying happily married and helping my partner fulfill her dreams is a core mission. If you are not doing all you can for the primary person in your life, you need more than any bucket list can offer.
  • I want to see more live events, Broadway shows, concerts and even buskers. Appreciating the creativity of others fulfills a part of us we cannot be happy without.
  • Speaking of that, I want to see more art, lots of it, in galleries, museums and from freelancers out in the parks in summer.
  • I want to convince every one of you that the world is full of wonders that the avalanche of so-called news obscures every day.
  • Oh, and I want to write more poetry. Yes, I know almost nobody reads it and, for sure, nobody pays for it. I don’t care. There are some things you cannot express any other way.
  • Finally, I want to watch the Buffalo Bills win a Super Bowl. As a rabid fan, I sat through those four straight losses and, in spite of my disappointment, still felt happy to have my team play so many extra games each year at a high level. But just one win, for me and my old friends in Buffalo, would be nice.

So, there it is, my bucket list.

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