Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Dead Before He Did Before He Died

Here’s a definition for irony: Dave Freeman, co-author of a book entitled “100 Things To Do Before You Die,” died in his early ‘40s by banging his head in a household accident well before he was able to do everything on his famous list.

The news article reporting Freeman’s untimely and strange death mentioned that he only got about halfway done before kicking the bucket. Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman got more down in a few movie months than this guy did in his whole life. So unfortunate, especially considering he wasn’t killed doing something super-awesome. He just bumped his head in a freak basement accident or something. The least he could’ve done was have his bungee cord halfway down the length of the Eiffel Tower.

Anyway, his list included some admittedly cool stuff:

  • Mardi Gras in New Orleans
  • The Iditarod Sled Dog race in Alaska
  • The Pageant of the Masters in Southern California
  • Carnival in Brazil
  • The Cannes Film Festival in France
  • Oktoberfest in Germany
  • Running with the Bulls in Spain
  • Yom Kippur in Israel
  • The Pushkar Camel Fair in India (Whatever THAT is)
  • The Nude Night Surfing Contest in Australia

The book’s got like 90 more necessary locations and activities, but I’m not concerned about this guy’s list. I’m going to make up one of my own.

Here we go. Ten Things I Want To Do Before I Die

Learn how to do at least 50 celebrity impersonations credibly. There a few impressions I can already do reasonably well (Pee-Wee Herman, Shrek and Donkey, Spongebob Squarepants), but there are so many more that I really would like to do flawlessly, most notably Bill Cosby, Vince Vaughn, Ray Romano, Owen Wilson, and as many cast members of “The Simpsons” as possible.

Defend my wife’s honor. I’ve never really been a fighter, but once (and only once) in my life, I’d like to be put in a situation where I have to fight someone who has insulted my lady. I’m fine with this as long as the insulter is under 5’4” and doesn’t have any experience with mixed martial arts.

Put an arcade basketball game in my basement. You know the ones I mean—nets line both sides and you shoot as many tiny basketballs into the hoop as possible before your sixty seconds runs out. I don’t personally know anybody who owns one of these, but I’d like to be the guy everyone talks about because he has one. After a few drinks at the local pub, my peers would say, “Let’s go to Joel’s basement and entertain ourselves with the arcade basketball game.” Legendary.

Write a novel. I consider myself a relatively entertaining writer (I hope—is anybody reading this?), and I think that could translate well into an extended piece of fiction. There are a thousand ideas for stories floating through my head, but I never seem to have the motivation to finish any of those ideas. Someday, though. Someday.

Invent an invention. At this point, pretty much everything has been invented already. I understand. But wouldn’t it be cool to come up with something new anyway? New flavors of ice cream? A robot that does chores? A force-field that protects human epidermises from mosquitoes? There are endless possibilities. If only I liked science and math.

Polish a shotgun in front of my eventual daughter’s prom date. This is going to be awesome. I’ll have to buy a shotgun if and when I have a little baby girl, though.

Meet Michael Jordan. Working for HOOPSWORLD has allowed me an awesome opportunity to meet some of the biggest stars in today’s NBA: LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett. But the player I’d love to met more than anybody else is the basketball Jesus, MJ himself. I’ve met a few members here and there from the Jordan championship years, including Scottie Pippen (though he was half drunk when we shook hands), but His Airness may as well be royalty with the secrecy he employs when attending games. He’s a currently with the Charlotte Bobcats, so hopefully he’ll come watch a game in Chicago and I’ll get my shot. Come on, big guy. Make my life.

Catch a housefly in my bare hand on the first try in front of somebody. Things that make me look awesome are a priority. I’ve never done this, especially not while somebody was watching, but how Karate Kid would I appear if I pulled this off. Just in the middle of a conversation with someone and then swipe! So extreme.

Successfully complete an eating challenge. There are restaurants across the country that offer you a free meal if you can put down some insane amount of food. A four-pound cheeseburger or tire-sized pancake. This would make me feel more like a man, and I’m not exactly sure why.

Concoct a recipe my whole family begs me to make at holidays. Currently I’m working on a pretty delicious chili recipe for the autumn months, and everybody really seems to enjoy that. But I need a signature dish for either Thanksgiving or Christmas. Something nobody can make right but me. Something that when I die, my descendants will try to make the dish but everybody will say, “It’s not the same as when Joel made it.” I don’t know how or what, but I’m going to do this.

My list is awesome. Now it’s your turn. What am I missing?


Mike said...

First of all, you have to catch the fly with chopsticks. "Man who catch fly with chopsticks accomplish anything."

Second, I have no doubt you could pull off a very entertaining novel.

And finally, I LOVE the movie "The Bucket List"!!!!

Ann said...

I crossed off one of the items on my list last year--battle someone while wearing a sumo suit. I'd also like to jump onto one of those velcro-covered walls.