Hark, the list fanatics of the world! Our time is nigh. The days when list-writing carried a stigma are over, nowadays all the cool kids are doing it. It’s cheap, it’s easy (Koko the gorilla could probably do it) and it’s highly entertaining. Also, it’s something you can do on your own without having to refer to the proverbial wisdom of your immediate ancestors. I am pleased to inform you that being in a relationship is not a requirement (these days so many things are), nor is the psychological instability (although, it helps). It’s just you and your felt-tip pen (the one that has always been there for you when you had to write nasty things about the cute waiter whom you secretly fancied even though he was totally wrong for you and who didn’t even offer to ask you for your phone number for the sake of politeness when you so clearly showed your eager interest in him by patronizing his employer’s establishment three times in one week and even forgot various personal articles (like your mobile phone, your library card and your house keys – making sure he could contact you personally) in the booth – don’t judge me …). My point is, lists can be and , indeed, are useful.
Despite the semi-mocking tone in the introductory paragraph, I, in fact, believe that list-making is very conducive towards enhancing one’s performance levels. I will not deny that this particular year was not my best, and I’m blaming the lack of lists in my life for it. You see, I love making lists – I always have. It’s something I was born with, much like my Yeti feet. They are great (the lists I mean, not the curious shape of my pedal extremities) for a multitude of sensible reasons. For example, they help one to organize one’s thoughts. Even the great Hercule Poirot, notre bon ami, had recurred to this technique time and again (see, how I cleverly forced an Agatha Christie comparison into the text?).
Also, I love the potential productivity that the idea of a list conveys. Naturally, I never get to tick off all the items I put on a list, but it’s the thought that counts (the obligatory lie one must tell oneself before getting crushed under the imaginary weight of self-reproaches and comfort food) or so says the worn-out slogan of every support group in existence. The great news is that there is a plethora of lists to choose from. One must naturally distinguish between serious list that would leave even people that don’t know you in awe (e.g. lists of actors you will eventually marry and then divorce or lists of punishments you want to inflict on your friends for tricking you into seeing any of the three Hangover movies) and lists that you make when you’re feeling frivolous (lists of nine letter words of Greek origin or, if you’re feeling naughty, words with Germanic affixes).
However, my favourite type of a list is a book list. My Serotonin levels rise at the very sight of one. There are 3 book lists in my top drawer at every given time. I simply love perusing through them. I grant you, sometimes it’s about as useful as reading the ingredients on the back of a flower fertilizer, but it has the redeeming quality of calming one’s mind. It really does. Often, when I don’t feel like doing anything too mentally strenuous, I will go read a book list. Not every list will do, mind you. I’m a list snob (of the worst kind, really) and will accept only those that have been approved by professionals or people who share my impeccable taste.
Even though I go into a conniption fit whenever I see a poorly-written book list, I’ve learned to control my indignation in front of the perpetrators of such atrocities and I have even learned to fight back by writing my proper book lists → epitome of everything that is beautiful in this world (no point being modest about it). Sometimes it’s as intellectually satisfying as actually reading the books because you see, personalized book lists are like chocolate muffins, they just don’t disappoint.
Of course, hiding behind every list-writing enthusiast is a pathological control freak. We are incapable of acting spontaneously and enjoying ourselves (unless we write that ON the list). I guess this must be connected with some inner insecurities which only extensive therapy can cure. Be that as it may, lists are simply wonderful. They’re full of promises of exciting things to come. Sometimes, that is just what you need.