Monday, August 18, 2008

#437 Listing to Port

#437 Listing to Port

There are too many lists. You have Craig's List, Emily's List, Angie's List, Cyndi's List, "The" List. You have lists of lists. And that's just the Internet. You have shopping lists, to-do lists, gift lists, Honey-Do lists.

You have so many lists that you'll list to port if you carry them in your briefcase and your briefcase in your left hand. (You'll list to starboard if you do all that stuff with the right hand.)

The Internet lists can be handy if you're looking for, say, a surfboard in Malibu or a carburetor for a '64 Biscayne in Biscayne Beach. The to-do and shopping lists are another story.

Used to do the shopping list on little scraps of paper. Need an item? Write it down. Need another item? Write it down on another scrap. Before hitting the supermarket, take the scraps and arrange them in aisle order. Then, all you have to do is cruise the aisles, picking up the items and discarding each scrap into the cart as you acquire what's written on it.

That works if (a) you know the layout of your supermarket by heart and (b) no good citizen adds a second item to a one-item paper scrap.

For awhile, there was a chalkboard in the kitchen, and the instruction to the children was "when you need something, write it down on the chalkboard and I'll pick it up when I go shopping."

But that didn't work. Too many things like "New Stereo," or "Sunglasses" appeared.

And eventually, it got to be trouble fishing the little scraps out of the cart and disposing of them in a socially responsible manner.

A good concept, the scraps, but not easily maintained.

Now, about the to-do lists. This once was really difficult, especially for those of us who are compulsive about obeying written instructions, even if we ourselves wrote them.

The to-do list would hover over the shoulder like a taskmaster, until we found a magic word, which we abbreviated as "ppd." It means "postponed." A great word. A word of royal significance. If you crossed out an item and wrote"ppd" next to it, and a proposed future date, you were home free.

But sometimes even this magic hits you in the rear.

Here's an example: The handle on the driver's side door of the family car is made of plastic and part of it has separated from its moorings. A little Crazy Glue fixes it temporarily. But if this "to-do" item is too oft postponed, the handle will come off and it'll mean a trip to Toyota and an expensive replacement.

So those items get done pretty much as directed.

"Change guitar strings" is easily "ppd." "Water the hydrangea" is not. Unless you like dead hydrangeas.

Still, there are too many lists. And half the world is listing to port.


--At the mental health center, there are nine working shrinks. Three of them don't use their first names, but substitute an initial. What would Dr. Freud make of that, do you suppose?

--And it always makes you wonder what the name they're hiding is. What does the "C" stand for in C. Edward Jackson? One guess: Chloroform.

--Unless you're an active convict, your Social Security number is your main symbol of personal identification. Which is kind of funny for some of us who've had the cards longer than we can remember. You know the ones -- the ones that say on them "not for identification purposes."

I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.(R)
(C)WJR 2008

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