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I Am a Maker and Unmaker of Lists

lists

I love lists.

I am a maker of lists.
I am an unmaker of lists.

I love lists.

(To do: Spellcheck “unmaker”—it doesn’t look right. Also spellcheck “spellcheck.”)

Lists keep the fear away, the fear of nothing. I love lists that keep me healthy. Lists that keep me clean. I love lists that turn my job into something I can talk about. And lists that remind me how much I love my husband. If I need anything, ever, I don’t have to think it. I just need to locate the appropriate list. Or make a new one.

(To do: Take vitamins. Tell my husband I love him and why.)

I love lists that remind me how hard things can be, because I might forget. I love lists that tell me Where Are They Now, because if I’m not told, I might go looking for them. I love lists that tell me how to get smarter, richer, happier, faster, thinner, stronger, braver, and kinder in 10 steps. Or at least show one’s love. Aren’t these the same thing?

(To do: Locate list that tells me how to be kinder in 10 steps.)

 But of all the lovely lists, I love my To Do list most. It organizes my sense of production, which supports my sense of accomplishment, which feeds my overall self-worth. I love the tidily lined-up boxes and the tidily lined-up checks as I mentally move them from goal to accomplishment on life’s balance sheet.
(To do: Start new To Do list. Draw boxes next to each item.)
 
Lists are like marching armies: polished, clean, sewn, and fastened, ready for inspection. Whether or not they go into battle doesn’t matter. It is how they march, how they are organized, how their brass shines, and how their cuffs have no loose threads. It is in these wonderful little details that inspire curiosity and intrigue that the pulp of life exists.
 
(To do: Find things that need sewing, then sew them.)

Lists are like a muzzle and a lead for a wild dog. An inept, lazy dog that, unharnessed, might prance into the dark drawer of laziness and be no use to anyone. Productivity and potential lying down, defeated, not doing anyone any good. A list makes it valuable—the dog, his muscles, and his intellect. It is that control which brings value.

 (To do: Walk dog.)
 
Lists are like a third-grade teacher who puts a tapping finger on my writing pages, suggesting without words that I stop daydreaming and get to work. Nudging and prodding and coaxing to ensure I have just enough and not more than necessary. Or my mother hinting, with pinched eyes, “Don’t you think that is enough purple for one outfit?” A gentle prod and reminder to which I respond, “There is never enough purple.”
 
(To do: Eat dinner.)
 
Sometimes I find myself thinking, “What can I put on my list?” You know, easy stuff. Stuff that can be done, or maybe (if I’m really honest) things I might have already done, but that are critical and, thus, should definitely be on a list.

If something happens, but it wasn’t on anyone’s To Do List, did it really happen?

(To do: Write silly, little Ode to Lists.)
 
I just realized that when I get older, I’ll need help with my lists. I won’t be thinking as clearly as I do now. I might forget a few things and end up, completely by mistake, forgetting something. Or even worse, not being as productive as I could be.
That awful, horrible nothingness, a black, bleak surrounding that comes up on you when you sit still. I imagine lanes of traffic, stalled. Feet stuck in concrete.  Crippled arthritic hands unable to grasp any meaning. I shudder from such ineptitude.

Back to the list. Must keep going. There is one thing I absolutely mustn’t forget, above all else.

(To do: Die.)
 
There.
 
Now I can relax. And just go through my list.
  1. Spellcheck “unmaker”—it doesn’t look right. Also spellcheck “spellcheck.”
  2. Take vitamins. Tell my husband I love him.
  3. Locate list that tells me how to be kinder in 10 steps.
  4. Start new To Do list. Draw boxes next to each item.
  5. Sewing
  6. Walk dog.
  7. Eat dinner.
  8. Write silly, little Ode to Lists.
  9. Die.

What a good day this will be.  

Spellcheck “unmaker”—it doesn’t look right. Also spellcheck “spellcheck.”

I will be so organized.

Take vitamins. Tell my husband I love him.

I will get so much done. If only I put all my faith and trust into the list.

Locate list that tells me how to be kinder in 10 steps.

I love lists. 
 
Start new To Do list. Draw boxes next to each item.
 
Look how productive I am.
 
Sewing.
 
Look how accomplished I am!
 
Walk dog.
 
Look what an amazing person I am!
 
Eat dinner.
 
Lists are the maker of me.
 
Write silly, little Ode to Lists.

I’m the unmaker of lists. 

Die.
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