Commentary by Ward Degler
When we reach a certain age, there emerges an overwhelming need to make lists. Suddenly, we have to write things down. Otherwise, we might forget them.
As a journalist, I have long made notes to myself — things to look up, research, telephone, consider or just write about. But the addiction to making lists, the conviction I won’t survive the day unless I write things down is more recent.
I keep a notepad on the table next to my chair in the living room. As thoughts come and go, I write lists, tear off the sheets and arrange them in a neat stack next to the notepad.
These slips of paper cover a world of topics. My book editor’s phone number and mailing address are there, of course. I have to mail a check to her from time to time, and then I need to call to ask if I actually mailed the check.
I hear about a book that sounds interesting, I write down the title and author. Sometimes I order the book, much to the chagrin of my loving wife who looks at the growing stack of unread books next to my chair and rolls her eyes.
Someone mentions a must-see movie and I write that down too. There’s an even dozen of those on my list. We haven’t seen any of them yet. But, they are on the list.
I have several sheets of passwords. Some of them are for websites that I might visit some day although I don’t remember what any of them are.
One sheet has the serial number of my lawnmower. Another has the number of my cable router. Yet another lists the model and serial number of our dishwasher. That one we may need because it has a faulty switch. Sometimes we have to start it several times before it will run through the wash cycle.
A half dozen sheets list medical appointments — most of them long past, and I’m not sure why I keep them. Maybe for the same reason I keep the reminder that Aug. 19 was National Talk Like a Pirate Day. Maybe next year I can shiver me timbers and put on an eye patch.
Jeanne and I haven’t taken a vacation for several years, but I have an extensive list of resorts we could go to when we’re ready.
Several sheets bear the names of publishing companies that might one day be overjoyed to make me a best-selling author. Another is a list of things I want to order online. That includes the fruitcake I ordered last winter and the Zone Perfect bars that will arrive sometime this week.
One list is ideas for my weekly column. One of them suggests writing about making lists.