by D. Bell
I was watching that certain Sunday morning show on CBS a few weeks ago as is my normal weekend routine. The viewing always comes after the requisite production of fresh coffee and homemade pancakes laden with fruit and syrup. They did a story about lists, and how most media and other forums inundate us with aforementioned lists. I hadn’t given it much thought until then, but damn if they are not right. I dare you to peruse any magazine stand that isn’t filled with row after row of publications that offer some sort of life-altering list to help you be a better person or avoid being a chump whether you are at the grocery store, the doctor, or, ahem, in bed - I sleep just fine thank you!
How did we ever manage our lives before these nicely organized up to the minute somewhat scientifically researched tidbits of numbered knowledge? I too am guilty of reading through these whenever I come across them, even frantically at times, in my hurry to glean every morsel offered, because like most people, I want to be in the know, ahead of the game, safe from financial and medical ruin!
In this busy world of ours, it is much easier to have neat, small lists at our disposal that can easily be ingested in under a minute than to spend a leisurely respite from the world and invest some real time in reading a good book or article. But are they really helpful? Do you really retain and use what you learn from them, or is it just a pleasant way to kill time and feel good about it? Has your life actually changed because of a list?
The latest one I just saw from my online email services today was “Clue to Diabetes in Your Eyebrows”. No, I did not make that up, and yes, of course, I read it. Now I have to worry because my leg height to torso ratio is off and my eyebrows are not going gray like the rest of my hair? Oh no no, I am not going back to those WebMD days of hypochondriac self-diagnosis based on broad generic symptoms. That only leads to a bad episode of “The Brady Bunch” like when Peter and Jan were playing doctor, but not in an icky incestuous way.
Who comes up with this stuff? Why do I read them and will continue to do so even after my tirade? Should I make a list of why? I am definitely going to take my life back in a small way and not read the latest list about “How to Cook an Egg” even though I am sure it amazing as the teaser of a graphic is alluring. Apparently I am not alone in my feelings about lists. Someone wrote a book about it. I am sure someone will place it on a list of “List of Books with the Most Important Lists”