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Monthly Archives: May 2013

What’s in a list?

One of my favourite movies of recent times is Ruben Fleisher’s Zombieland. Apart from the obvious appeal this movie offers with the killing of a whole lot of already dead people, there’s also Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson, and how can you not be impressed when a ‘list’ is a key character. Columbus’ rule list of the things you need to survive has kept him alive to this point (the list character is introduced at the beginning of the movie – I don’t want to give away the plot for those who haven’t seen it).

Unlike Columbus, as a non-list maker it’s clear to me I probably wouldn’t survive in Zombieland (also I fail rule number one which is to maintain cardio, so would probably be easily caught and eaten by a crazed zombie).

However, list-making is something I really admire in people. I have friends who make lists and blog these on a regular basis. I have work colleagues who write down everything they have to do in a list format and tick them off as they go. I know others who write down birthday dates in a list so they don’t forget anyone.

The most I do is write a shopping list. However, I only ever remember to pull it out when I am in the checkout queue with half of my groceries already on the conveyer belt and by then it is too late to go back and grab anything else without offending the checkout operator or the people queuing behind you.

It’s not like I don’t understand the value of lists. I do. They are crucial. Imagine if the builders of the space shuttles or cosmo-rockets (what do the Russians call their space ships?) didn’t consult a list to make sure they’ve put the right sprocket thingies next to the booster bits. Imagine if they forgot to put in the space food. ‘Sorry Uri, you’re on a bit of a diet while you’re up there in the stratosphere’. (Apologies to anyone who actually knows about space exploration. I obviously have no idea.)

Visualise there not being a telephone list. How would we ever find one another? Particularly in the old says without a ‘Siri’ to consult. People’s contact numbers would just be….where? Stuck on our fridges, randomly, on adhesive notes.

Consider if we didn’t have surgical lists? You could turn up to the hospital to have a couple of suspicious looking moles removed and end up having a gender reassignment operation. Okay I expect a gender reassignment takes quite a few surgical procedures but do you really want any of your bits fiddled with in an ‘operational’ way if you’re not expecting it?

What if we didn’t have the ‘Australia’s richest’ or ‘the world’s richest’ lists? We would never know who to admire and place at the forefront of gossip magazines. We would never know whose rhetoric to place on the front page of the newspaper about the best way to run the country’s economy (of course they would know!). We would never have to hear the ridiculous disputes these people have about when other family members should receive access to their $76 gazillion in trust funds. Maybe these are lists we could do without.

Most importantly, what if the AFL (Australian Football League for those not in the know) didn’t create a list of game times? How would I ever know when to turn up to the SCG (Sydney Cricket Ground – again for those who have no idea) or to turn on the television. Crucially, how would my Sydney Swans know when to turn up to beat whoever lands in front of them (if indeed the other team did have a list and did know when to turn up – now it’s getting confusing). But, if we are going down this path, if there were no such things as lists, would there even be a Sydney Swans….?

Nooooooooooo. It doesn’t bear thinking about. Lists are crucial.

As a non-list maker, maybe I wont survive in Zombieland. However, on reflection, Tallahassee, Wichita and Little Rock didn’t keep lists and they had managed to survive. They had ‘smarts’ and bucket loads of weaponry. And maybe they followed Columbus’ 32nd rule – ‘enjoy the little things’, which is something I think I can do. Especially if it involves spending 88 minutes watching a movie about zombies.