Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Finally Completed My ‘Bucket List’

Do you remember the movie “The Bucket List”? That 2007 film, starring Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson, introduced the term “bucket list” to American popular culture. It means a wish list of things you want to do before “kicking the bucket,” that is, before dying. The term “kick the bucket,” on the other hand, has been around for centuries, although no one quite knows where the expression came from.

Like many people, when “The Bucket List” hit the theaters, I made a list of things I’d like to do before dying. I’m happy to announce that I have crossed every item off my Bucket List.

No, I didn’t actually do those things. I crossed them off my list because now, 12 years later, I realize I no longer want to do any of those things.

My bucket list contained the obligatory daredevil items found on many other folks’ lists: skydive, parasail, zipline, bungee jump, and eat jalapeño peppers. Back then I had just turned 50, so I was pretty sure I was physically able to handle those activities, except maybe the jalapeño thing, which probably would’ve killed me.

To be honest, all those daredevil activities defy gravity (other than the jalapeños, which defy common sense), and I’ve never been a big fan of gravity. Well, let me rephrase that: I am a fan of gravity, because floating off into outer space would make it difficult to get to work on time. What I’m not a fan of is being in a situation where gravity might cause me to plunge downward suddenly and slam into the ground at 122 mph. So, even though I put those things on my bucket list, I wasn’t all that interested and never took any steps to make them come true.

One major item on my bucket list, however, was something I really desired to do. My goal was to someday accumulate enough vacation time to be able to take an entire month off during the summer, and then rent a Winnebago and travel all across the country going to major league baseball games. I would start on the east coast — Sox, Yanks, Mets, Phils, Nats, and O’s — and then head west toward the Great Lakes — Pirates, Indians, Tigers, Blue Jays, Cubs, White Sox, Brewers, and Twins. At that point, I would decide whether I had enough time and/or money left to cruise to the west coast. If not, then maybe I instead would head for KC, St. Louis, Texas, and Atlanta before returning home.

Twelve years ago, I really thought that would be a great “Bucket List” adventure. But now the idea of steering a raised ranch on wheels through downtown streets and spending a whole month sleeping on a 3-inch thick foam mattress while parked at highway rest areas is just not that attractive anymore.

I still have an abbreviated version of this dream, but it now involves Southwest Airlines, Uber rides, and lots of Hiltons and Hyatts. And no doubt it will require lots of Benjamins, too. Wrigley Field (Chicago), PNC Park (Pittsburgh), and Progressive Field (Cleveland) are still part of the plan, but all the other ballparks, well, I can always watch them on TV.

The other original Bucket List entries, especially the ones that involved the Great Wall of China, The Sydney Opera House, and the Galapagos Islands are just not that alluring anymore. Mostly because of how many hours I’d have to sit on a plane to get there. Again, I’ll just watch them on TV. There are great travel shows on PBS.

Unlike most people, I can honestly say I’ve crossed every item off my Bucket List. I consider it a victory — a victory for common sense.

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