Monday, December 29, 2003

Twenty things you should do in this lifetime

I was tidying my room today and found a full-page newspaper ad that I'd
clipped from the July 9, 1999 Wall Street Journal. It was headlined
"20 THINGS YOU SHOULD DO IN THIS LIFETIME", and listed 19 things. (You had to
turn the page to see a double-page spread picture of the new BMW.)

I marked the ones that made sense to me then:

  1. Ride in a gondola down the Grand Canal in Venice

  2. Teach a class

  3. See the sun rise over the ruins at Machu Picchu

  4. Plant a tree

  5. See an opera at La Scala in Milan

  6. Take a balloon ride (though not necessarily over Serengeti, as the ad

... and I jotted down a few of my own:

  1. Raise a barn

  2. Learn a spell

  3. Spend a night in jail

  4. Live in Spanish

  5. Sleep in a tube hotel in Tokyo (beginning to sound too much like hard
    work - I must be getting old)

  6. Travel the Silk Road to Samarkand

  7. Tell my employer to fuck off (not sure about this one any more; seems

  8. Do something totally irresponsible

  9. Watch the summer solstice sunrise over a stone circle

  10. Kill, clean and roast a deer

That makes sixteen; here are four more that I made up today

  1. Meditate for a week

  2. Sing in a choir

  3. Learn the constellations of the northern sky

  4. Translate Ovid's Metamorphoses

For the record, the ones in the ad that didn't resonate with me were:

  1. Visit the country your ancestors called home (pretty much done - and too
    American, anyway)

  2. Leave a dollar where a kid will find it (too sappy, plus, what can you
    buy for a buck these days)

  3. Fly over the Grand Canyon in a helicopter (too noisy and showy; walking
    is better)

  4. Lend money to a friend without expecting it back (tacky)

  5. Have a suit made by a Saville Row tailor (I'm a cheapskate)

  6. Fly on the Concorde (now moot, and then I couldn't see the point: two
    hours in a metal tube vs. nine... OK, and? See also #5 about the suit.)

  7. Stand on the Great Wall (tempting, but too touristy; Hadrian's Wall
    would be more interesting)

  8. Make your own beer (see "kill deer" above for a more worthwhile

  9. Learn to speak French (I'm working on Spanish, though I'll admit that
    French is the most beautiful language in the world)

  10. Hang up on a lawyer (I like lawyers. Sorry.)

  11. Kiss someone passionately in public (done)

  12. Play the Old Course at St. Andrews (golf is boring)

  13. Shoot the rapids on the Snake River in Idaho (terror is not my idea of
    fun, especially expensive terror)

  14. ... and, of course, the BMW

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