Stick To The List

CAROLING

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I once worked in an office that had no Post-it notes, not even the knock-off versions that stick just once ... if the user is lucky.

There were too many boxes of Band-Aids to count, but no little yellow three by three inch sticky notes to create paper cuts to use those Band Aids on.

This lack of critical office supplies happened when an office services company took over the mail center of a utility company and the employees were... hostile. I believe in certain Michigan homes there are still hordes of sticky notes and whatever other kind of notepad the employees used for there were none in the building.

"Let me just make a note of that," took on a whole new meaning for me, because I am a note maker and quite often those notes evolve into lists.

People make lists to share their thoughts more consistently than rhyme --

The album I love by Rod Stewart

has a song about a girl in love.

The one that I like by David Bowie

took Major Tom to the stars above.

makes less sense than,

My favorite albums are:

Ziggy Stardust -- David Bowie

Foot Loose and Fancy Free -- Rod Stewart

La Luna -- Sarah Brightman

Queen's Greatest Hits

People make lists so they remember what they hope to accomplish, (particularly as those brain cells remember more from last year than yesterday morning.)

People make lists for the satisfaction of crossing off an item from the list.

Indeed, Honey Do lists, the anathema of the married male, sit mockingly on workbenches in home garages across the industrialized world.

All because his wife, before she was his wife, said, "Honey, you aren't really going to go play basketball today? I thought we were going to Macy's to pick out china together."

Brides-to-be used to get all the fun of making out lists at department stores.

Then mommies-to-be got in on the action.

Now the opportunity to create wish lists is open to everyone. The gift buyer is relieved of the need to think, now what would burly cousin Thomas want? A parka for the cold Montana winter or a perhaps a set of snowball makers? Cousin Tom can direct prospective birthday gift buyers to check out Pier 1's site and get him a set of Aegean wooden masks. Ah, the things you learn about the people you love...

The most recent list that millions of people have crossed off names from and put away for another 10 or 11 months is the Christmas card list.

Employees of the greeting card industry thank you. During the 2006 Christmas season, an estimated 85 percent of Americans exchanged two billion cards. And that two billion represents a mere 30 percent of annual greeting card sales.

Amazon.com, where many consumers have created wish lists is also full of favorite book lists. These latter lists, were made by people who took time away from reading their next favorite book to type up their list, because they know you care.

On Amazon, you can even buy a used copy of the 2004 edition of "The Book of Lists" for $9.88, plus shipping.

But, with the wealth of free lists on the net, why bother?

Craigslist.org has local classified ads and forums for 450 cities across the nation and counting.

The Best of Craigslist is a compilation of reader written, nominated articles that include among many other things:

  • postings about sappy couples (oh, I think I am guilty of being half of one)
  • rants about things left in the communal employee fridge (Post-it notes do not need to be refrigerated, Michigan winters are cold enough)
  • raves about "real" Alaskan men

In fact, checking out Craigslist is so much fun I am not much closer to drawing a line through "WRITE COLUMN" on the list sitting by my computer.

Google has their own set of searches related to "lists."

A dry surf from funny lists to myhumor.org took me to the "Famous Last Words," list.

"What duck?" and "I wonder where the momma bear is?" made me chuckle.

By the time you finish this sentence, I will be 726 words closer to crossing "write column" off today's three by five Post-it note.

I know I am not alone in my compulsive list making.

After all, an old proverb posits that the worst pencil is better than the best memory (but you still need a sticky note to go with it!)

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