Opinion: Marking off the to-do list


I am not a procrastinator. Quite the opposite. I pay bills before they are due. I’ve already filed my 2014 income tax return. I kiss my wife goodnight in the morning.

The daily to-do list that I complete each night should list chores that should be done the next day, but I can’t put any of those things on my yellow notepad because I completed all those tasks weeks ago.

Sometimes I imagine what would happen if the day I graduated from high school, I was given a giant to-do list with everything on it that I needed to accomplish by the time I went to my 50th class reunion…which will be in October, back in New York.

  • See 1,426 movies
  • Interview 25,567 people
  • Phone my sister 341 times
  • Go to the dentist 122 times
  • Write 757 humor columns
  • Clean a kitty litter box 6,018 times
  • Read 1,708 books

For a person like me who wants to get things done right now, I’d be a total mess from the moment I saw what I needed to accomplish—even though I had 50 years to do it.

“Hello, Dick, I’m Harry, your new college roommate. Want to go out and get a beer?”

“Sorry, Harry, but I’m really busy. I have 1,708 books to read before 2015.”

Because I’m compulsive, I’d probably try to get a lot of the stuff over with immediately. I’d have my teeth cleaned 12 times a year, so I’d be done by 1985. I’d convince Mary Ellen when we got married to view 20 or 30 movies every weekend. That would have at least put a small dent in the 1,426 flicks I’d have to finish by 2015.

How about talking to my sister on the phone in New York 341 times? “Dick, this is the fifth time you’ve called me today. We have absolutely nothing new to say to each other.”

“I know, Linda, I know. But I have to get all the calls in to you by my 50th reunion.”

“It’s only 1987. Have you talked to our brother as much?”

“Yes, actually several dozen times this week. I’m done now. I never have to talk to him again.”

I would have also had to space out 18,678 showers over the entire 50 years. Wait, did you really think I’d try to get them all done in just a decade or two?

Really, how weird do you think I am?

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