I’ll Never Take a Cruise, and Other Vows on My Reverse-Bucket List


Everybody has a Bucket List – a photographer, for instance, may long to take pictures of a wildebeest migration on the Serengeti Plain; a mountain climber may dream of scaling Everest; a golfer may fantasize playing the Old Course at St. Andrew – but a few years ago I came up with the idea of a Reverse-Bucket List.

These are things I’ve promised never to do before I kick the bucket.

It all started when, as a teenager, I good-naturedly berated a buddy of mine for using an electric can opener when a manual device worked just as well if not better, and he retorted, “Yeah, well one day you’ll own one,” to which I responded, “Never!”

I’m happy to report I have kept my word all these decades and have steadfastly relied on the old-fashioned turnkey-cutting wheel contraption that has faithfully served the rest of civilization for nearly 150 years.

I thought about my pledge a few weeks ago when can openers showed up on a list of emergency supplies to assemble when preparing for Hurricane Sandy. I wonder how many people who stockpiled canned goods had to pry them open with a hammer and screwdriver after the power went out.

I’ve previously chronicled my aversion to leaf blowers and other so-called laborsaving devices that actually work less efficiently and are noisy to boot, so I won’t dwell on them here. And I dread the day that my 1998 compact car, which I’ve driven more than 200,000 miles, eventually bites the dust because I’ll probably have to buy a vehicle with automatic door locks and power windows, features I detest that unfortunately come standard with virtually every new automobile.

So I can’t really add those items to my Reverse-Bucket List, since I may not have a choice.

One pledge I can make with some certainty, though, is that barring being Shanghaied, I will never embark on a cruise ship.

Let me first say that I wish no offense to the cruise ship industry, nor do I think less of friends and relatives who have enjoyed sailing to Caribbean islands and other tropical paradises, but off the top of my head I can think of, oh, 147,682 places I’d rather visit, including Devil’s Island, Mogadishu, Somalia, or even Macon, Georgia, before I set foot on anything owned or operated by Carnival or Princess.

It’s not so much the Norwalk virus outbreaks that periodically sends passengers scrambling for the head, or the mal de mer that has them hanging over the rails, or the drunken captains that ever so often runs vessels onto reefs, necessitating rescues at sea, or the nonstop eating and drinking.

It’s more the notion of being trapped, that no matter how exotic and appealing the itinerary the trip winds up feeling like “Voyage of the Damned.”

I know, I know – cruise ships today have climbing walls, surfing and other recreation activities, but I just can’t get past the stereotypical image of predominantly indolent, gluttonous passengers.

Back to motor vehicles, I’ll never own an SUV, dirt bike, ATV, Jet-Ski or snowmobile. I’ll never wear a mink coat, raccoon hat or alligator shoes. I’ve never hunted and gave up fishing decades ago.


Here are a few other items on my list, in no particular order, and for no particular reasons other than my own peculiar tastes and occasional orneriness:

– Run with the bulls in Pamplona.

– Swim with dolphins at Sea World.

– Watch an entire episode of “Friends,” or more than 10 minutes or any PGA tournament.

– Wear anything with a NASCAR, pro football, basketball, baseball or hockey team logo.

– Stand in line outside any store for Black Friday.

– Root for any creature other than those with four legs in incidents involving zookeepers and “good animals that turn bad.”

The best part of having a reverse-bucket list is that, unlike a standard bucket list, in which you cross off goals you have achieved, you can keep adding new items. Instead of saying, as I often do, “so much to do, so little time,” I can say, “so much not to do, so much time.”

Speaking of time, I think I’ll end this here so I can take the four-wheeler out in the woods and practice my target shooting – not.




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