Much of America has been swept away recently by the film, “The Bucket List.” If nothing else, the pairing of acting heavyweights Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson got people excited enough to buy their tickets and popcorn and enjoy the performances.
However, the concept behind the movie is what’s truly driving conversation.
The basic premise is two terminally-ill men escape from a hospital to try to accomplish everything they’ve ever wanted to do before they died. We’ve all kind of mentally catalogued things we’d really like to do in our own lives, but the respective medical conditions of the two stars force them to really take stock of their own lists and attempt to do what many of us simply dream about — enjoying whatever precious life we have left.
However, most of us don’t actively chase our dreams, because most of us are busy chasing our lives — jobs, spouses, children, pets, hobbies, whatever. By the time we handle that day’s business, we’re ready to go to sleep.
And, maybe, this movie will actually make people stop and take stock of their own lives. I know the concept alone has got me looking hard at things.
So, without further adieu, I present my own bucket list ...
• I want to play golf in Scotland. It doesn’t have to be St. Andrew’s, or one of the other famous courses over there, but I sincerely want to play a round of golf in its birthplace. Oh, and I have to get a crusty old Scot to serve as my caddy. I don’t want to miss any of the experience.
• I want to beat Harry Steele to just one one-liner in my life. I always considered myself pretty quick, but nobody fires off one-liner after one-liner as fast as Steele.
• I want to go to every stadium in Major League Baseball. I had gotten quite a few under my belt at one point, but new teams and a slew of new stadiums have put me way down on the list. I respect and love all the other sports, but baseball has its cathedrals, and I want to eat a hot dog and drink a beer in every one of them.
• I want that story. Like Ahab chasing his whale, I’ve been in pursuit of “the story” for years. I’m not talking about a smashing story that shakes government or exposes wrongdoing by public servants to give myself a name, as much as I want that one story that will impact many people’s lives in a positive way. The (Baltimore) Sun did a piece a few years ago on the boot camp system in Maryland, and highlighted the abuse and human rights violations going on — since that story, the entire system has changed. I’ll take one like that. Still searching.
• I want to learn how to play the piano. I’m not exactly sure why, and I have yet to exhibit any kind of talent for music up to this point in my life, but I just think that guys playing the piano look flat-out cool while they’re doing it. Sign me up for some cool kharma.
• I want to see U2 in person again. Some of the best nights of my teen years were spent watching U2 perform at the old Capital Center, and I still love the music and messages they put out to this day. There’s no telling how much longer they’re going to stick together and play music, so I really do have to make an effort next time I get the chance.
• I want to throw a pie in the face of comedian Paul Reiser. Man, that guy just gets under my skin.
• I want to climb a mountain. To be honest, it could be a landfill. It really doesn’t matter. I just love that instant sense of accomplishment when people literally reach the top.
• I want to absolutely devour Rome. I want to sit through every boring tour and visit every last piece of history, as well as get an up-close look at the aqueducts and appreciate the technological advances they made in architecture that we still practice today. And I want to see lots of hot Italian women walking around. Yup. Put that on the list.
• I want to dunk on Shaun Lambert just once. I want my knees to go back in time, my vertical jump to gain a little in the vertical department and I want to throw one down on Shaun that will make him cry. Literally. I need to see Shaun’s tears to make this worth doing.
• I want to write a truly great novel. Now, I’m not aiming for “The Great American Novel,” because I like the fact that it is a goal for many writers. But I really want to write a story that has an impact on the people who read it, and maybe make them laugh a few times on the ride.
• I want to go to a Notre Dame bowl game. Actually, I want Notre Dame to qualify for a bowl game again first, but I really want to go enjoy all the traditions of a Notre Dame bowl game. I went to see Maryland play in the Peach Bowl a few years ago when I lived in Atlanta, and it was one of the most fun nights of my life — even though Maryland fans were outnumbered about 20-1 by supporters of Tennessee. Now I want to ride the Notre Dame express.
• I want to be able to help out my father and mother one time. They’ve spent decades looking after me and answering the bell whenever I needed them. I’d like to be able to be there one significant time for them. Don’t get excited, Dad. You’re still not living with me when you get old. But I do have a pretty big shed, and I can run some cable out there so you don’t miss your Penn State games.
• I want to heckle Sussex County Council after I retire. Granted, a bucket list could require you to do things before you expected to do them, so I’m prepared to start the heckling tomorrow, if needed. Trust me, I have lots of material.