The Bucket List Gets a Makeover

>> Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Apparently, I have a Bucket List.  Supposedly, everyone has one.  After some investigation into the term "Bucket List," I will admit to having one, and I will acknowledge that most rational people do have one.

What I cannot figure out is how it came to be called a "Bucket List."

If there is any other human being as woefully ignorant as I about the term "Bucket List," let me explain.  It's that list of things you want to do before you die, or "kick the bucket."  There are an almost infinite number of euphemisms for dying, and "kick the bucket" is a reference to a particularly nasty form -- suicide by hanging.  So the old wives tale goes, it is a reference to kicking away the bucket you stand on to tie the rope.

Now, after reading (most of ) Word Myths: Debunking Linguistic Urban Legends, I know better than to believe what I think to be the origin of that phrase, "kick the bucket."  In true etymology, the term may actually have a far different origin than what I described.  I don't think the truth actually matters (just this once), because we all think it refers to suicide, and that is the most important part.

So, when we refer to our "Bucket List," we are referring to that list of things we'd like to do before we kill ourselves.


I think I like the term even less now. 

Personally, I'd just call it, "The List of Things I'd Like to Do Before I Die." After all, the title worked well for 1,000 Places to See Before You Die, updated ed. (2010) (1,000 Before You Die) and all of its progeny.  Why mess with a good thing?  Well, Twitter, for one thing.  "The List of Things I'd Like to Do Before I Die" is a little tough to tweet ... if you want to bother to add what you are putting ON the list or to talk about it in any way.  (I almost said, "any meaningful way" but that might be stretching 140 characters a little too far.)

So, I figure we can try some sort of funky abbreviation, like LOTILTDBID, but I doubt it would catch on.  We could call it, "The List," but that just begs the question.  We could work with the abbreviation a little, and call it the "LOT List," but that is both redundant and begs the question.  I'm guessing we will have to examine the other euphemisms for death and dying and work with those instead.

Here are just a few to consider:

Bought the Farm -- that would make it the Farm List
Pushing up Daisies -- that would make it the Daisy List.  (Hey, I kinda like that one.)
Resting in Peace -- that would make it the RIP List.  (It's oddly accurate.  This one has potential.)
Shuffled Off the Mortal Coil -- that would make it the ... I don't know ... the Mortal Coil List?
Six Feet Under -- that would make it ... maybe ... the Dirt List?
Sleeping With the Fishes -- that would make it the Fish List
Cashed in His/Her Chips -- that would make it the ... Casino List?
Meeting the Maker -- depending on your beliefs, this could be the God List or the Aliens List or the Evolution List
Entering the Pearly Gates -- I would call this the "Gates List," but I think someone has already taken that name.
Appointment with St. Peter -- I think the best shot of this one is the "Appointment List"
Give Up the Ghost -- that would make it the Ghost List
Go to Glory -- umm ... Yes. Nothing I can come up with will pass the PG-no-innuendo-permitted-filter in typing fingers.

This is one of those posts that is just begging for your comments.  (Do you hear it pleading with you?)  So drop a note, take a vote, and let us know what you think we should call the Bucket List.


Anonymous June 9, 2010 at 8:36 AM  

It's the Daisy list for me I think. Slang over here when you die is to "cark it" I have no idea why, that would be the cark list...

You may have inspired me to write a "Daisy" List though, never done it before...

Dazee Dreamer June 9, 2010 at 10:05 AM  

I'm kind of leaning towards Appointment List. I like how it flows off the tongue. And who knows, you have your "appointment list" and people wouldn't know what kind of appointment you had. :)

Grandma in the yellow house June 9, 2010 at 10:39 AM  

several historical romances I have read used the term "stick his (or her) spoon in the wall" for death, which leaves me wondering what the devil does that mean anyway? So I think The Spoon List would work too.

Peggy Sue Brister June 9, 2010 at 12:24 PM  

I've never sat down and made a bucket list. The only things that come to mind when I think of things I want to do before I die involve traveling and seeing places I have never seen. Nothing like bungee jumping or sky diving, for which are things that can ultimately cause you to kick the bucket in and of themselves. I am not a thrill seeker. I am boring and just want to go to Hawaii, if I didn't have to fly over ocean to get there.

MOLLYC June 9, 2010 at 4:20 PM  

OMG, I am thrilled to be on your blogroll! And I certainly hope your surgery didn't provoke this latest post! Your blog just keeps getting better! molly

Karin Kysilka June 10, 2010 at 1:50 PM  

I think I still vote for Daisy List, but I like all the new contributions.

Molly, thankfully this was one of the "pre-ER" posts I had scheduled. (Whew!)

Anonymous June 10, 2010 at 5:31 PM  

I did it, wrote my Daisy list, getting the pictures was more fun than a load of old buckets! It made me smile a lot whilst writing so a big thank you to you for popping the idea in my head :-)

I like our twitter chats too :-D

Kham June 22, 2010 at 12:36 AM  

Here is a great place to create, manage and share your bucket list. You can also get some interesting ideas to put on your bucket list from others.

Check it out.

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