Day 25: Things you will never do before you die.

Today’s task involves going through a list – a long list, in small type and four columns, containing, in my estimate, upwards of three hundred items – and “com[ing] to terms” with the fact that I will never do most of them.

I am not going to go through the list item-by-item, either here or in the Book itself. We all have better things to do. I, for instance, have to drink some gin & go to bed.

Some of the things I have already done: grow a beard, start a fire, apologize for existing, smoke a Cuban cigar, use a semicolon. Others I will almost certainly do in the future: become grumpy when old, write a novel, jump ship, live to tell the tale, generate controversy, head a posse (well, maybe not that one). There are still others I have no desire to do: contract an STD, pretend everything is all right, implode, become Pope, grow a tail, be eaten by cannibals – really, most of the things on this list fall into this category. I think that’s the joke.

I had wanted to say that I had no trouble coming to terms with this list – that is, coming to terms with the fact that I will not be able to do everything before I die. I wanted to say that I’m happy with my life, that I have no regrets. I will never climb Everest – the second thing on the list – but there are other mountains, and I’ve climbed a few of them, and I’ll climb more before I’m done. I may never move anyone to tears, but I will certainly make people cry (my students, mostly, I would imagine). I doubt I’ll coin a new swear word, but I use the old ones often, and in what I think are new and astounding ways – and, hopefully, a few will catch on. I probably won’t ever live on a desert island, which is a little sad, but I can read Robinson Crusoe whenever I want, and then it doesn’t seem quite as appealing.

I say, I wanted to write all that, and for it to be true. But then, perhaps three-quarters of the way down the third column, I saw it: a thing I have never done, and will never do, and will always regret not doing – the four words that made my life a lie:

“Shit in the woods.”


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