I’m sure most everyone has heard of the idea of a bucket list, a list of things you want to do before you die, or “kick the bucket.” A phrase like this is bound to have uncertain origins, and this one certainly does. One theory is that people who were being hanged, short of a gallows, were made to stand on a bucket which was then kicked out from under them. Another idea is that “bucket” is an old word for a wooden beam (it’s used this way in Shakespeare) from which pigs who were being slaughtered were hung. When the animal struggled it was likely to kick the bucket (beam). Yet another explanation holds that when a person was dying in the Middle Ages a bucket of holy water was placed at their feet so visitors could sprinkle them with it. In this process the bucket was almost certain to be kicked. And a final surmise is that it came from a children’s game in which the object was to kick the bucket (and fall down dead, apparently).
The phrase has been used for a recent movie with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman and also for a sermon series at our church–spiritual qualities to develop before we die. I would say that most people have an idea, if not a list, of things they want to do and most of that involves travel. For example, I would like to visit Australia and New Zealand. I believe Australia has the most venomous species of any continent so I would have to be careful. I would also like to meet Gordon Lightfoot and establish a foundation to encourage young people to major in English. See? It’s easy to come up with three or four or a dozen things you’d like to do in this life. I’m game for most anything, and I think a lot of people are.
But I am also working on an anti-bucket list, which is a tally of things I never want to do. The list is presently short, possibly because I am open to most things (except watching The Sound of Music again (sorry everyone) or eating liver (yuck) so it was hard to come up with a very long anti-bucket list, so here it is in all its two-item glory:
1. Number one on my anti-bucket list (as indicated by the number one to the left) is to never go to Chuck E. Cheese. Now I like children and I like pizza but from what I’ve heard this place combines the two at eardrum shattering noise levels. And I’m told the pizza is not good. Avoid.
2. The second item is to never go to Las Vegas. I don’t care if Celine Dion is there, it’s not worth it.I don’t gamble (because I’m cheap) so there’s no attraction there. I also understand that food is expensive and there is smoking everywhere. No, thanks. There are some obvious places never to go, like Afghanistan and Myanmar, but I’m holding this list to higher standards and not noting the obvious.
So there’s my anti-bucket list. I’ll keep trying to add to it. I’d be interested in what’s on yours. Maybe I could use some of your ideas. Let me know in the “Comments” section.