Last week I wrote about something I’d never done before – hosting a garage sale. I got to thinking about all the other things I’ve never done before, and whether I really should have a bucket list – the achievements I want to tackle before I kick the bucket.
I’m not sure it’s necessary. I’ve had a really interesting life. I’ve flown first class. I’ve driven 100 miles per hour (and not on a racetrack). I’ve swum in a Tahitian lagoon. I’ve had breakfast overlooking the Grand Canal in Venice. I’ve had lunch with Sissy Spacek in San Francisco. I’ve traveled to 48 states. I got kicked out of an Ivy League school’s MBA program. I still get residual checks for helping to write a Remington Steele episode.
In fact, my bucket list is really short. I’d really like to live in England someday – London, the Cotswolds, the Lake District, I’m not fussy – but having just adopted kittens, that’s probably not going to happen for at least 15 years, and by then I may be too old. I’d also love to take the Smithsonian’s private jet tour of Australia, but it’s currently $48,950 per person, so I don’t see that happening anytime soon.
Having failed to construct even a rudimentary bucket list, as frequently happens, my mind wanders. I realize that, beyond the bucket list, there are other things I’ve never done, and they fall into three categories.
Things I’m Happy I’ve Never Done
I’ve never shopped at a Walmart. It never seemed necessary, and now it’s just a point of pride to stay away from a building the size of a warehouse mostly full of things made in China.
I’ve never gone bungee-jumping, ziplining, or parachuting. My late stepmother-in-law did the latter on her 70th birthday, and crossed that off her bucket list. When I hurtle through the air at high rates of speed, it’s going to be in an airplane (preferably in first class).
I’ve never shoplifted. I really was a goody-two shoes as a child, frequently annoyingly so. But at the same time, I never smoked either – not pot, not cigarettes. Having parents that smoked killed that desire. I’ve also never snorted cocaine, confident in the fact that I would end up sneezing like Woody Allen in Annie Hall.
Things I’m Sad I’ve Never Done
On the other hand, there are things I’m sad I’ve never done and highly unlikely ever to do. I’ve never figured out the stock market. I mean, I know how it works in theory, and I know I could study prospectuses to identify potential investments. But I could watch the end of Trading Places from now until the Oscars and still wouldn’t figure it out. I think the stock market is like the lottery – your chances of winning are the same whether you play or not.
Another facet of being a goody two-shoes is that I never went skinny-dipping with a teen-age girl. Of course, if I tried to do it now, it would just be creepy.
I’m also sad that I’ve never traveled back in time. (I’m not sure I’m interested in traveling forward in time.) This is, of course, impossible, but I’d still like to be in Dealey Plaza in November 1963, if only to try and figure out who really did kill Jack Kennedy.
Things I’m Ambivalent that I’ve Never Done
I’ve never gone to Paris and have no desire to. I can fumble my way through Spanish and Italian, but I find French unpronounceable.
I’ve never fired a weapon. There are certain things a person should know how to do, just in case they have to, but with all the uproar about guns, I think I’ll leave this one alone.
I’ve never met a president of the United States, and given the caliber of presidents we’ve been dealing with for the last … well, as long as I can remember … that’s okay.
I’ve never won the lottery. I’ve fantasized about it as much as anybody – quitting writing to become a philanthropist – but I’m also aware that both the people I know of who’ve won in excess of $20 million in the California State Lottery ended up divorced. It hardly seems worth the tradeoff.
So here I sit, without much of a bucket list, but also without many regrets. All in all, not a bad balance sheet for someone who got kicked out of business school and doesn’t understand the stock market.