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Making a list, checking it twice, is a no-no for me

August 01, 1997

Getting ready to go on vacation is the pits. That's what I've been doing. Trying to get ready for our family's fishing trip to the French River in Ontario.

If anyone tells you it's easy, they're lying.

I've written list after list, and every time I write a new one, I realize I've forgotten something. I don't think there's an end to it, and have decided as a result that lists are stupid.

For example, I ALWAYS forget my toothbrush, and therefore see no point in putting it on the list. Why bother? I'm going to forget it anyway.

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At any rate, last night I looked at my 10th list and realized I'd forgotten to list my fishing hat. By the time I'd wracked my brain and finished the 11th list, and realized I'd forgotten to list my hormones, I was disgusted and exhausted.

I threw the list away. I hate lists. They're useless.

Really. Think about it. If you have a list, you follow that list and once you've packed all the things on it, you stop packing. That means if you've forgotten to put something on your list, you don't pack it.

That means if you're addle-brained like me, you will fail to pack something very, very important like your hormones. That means that your entire vacation will be ruined because you will become very mean and hateful. That will offend people. By the time your vacation is over, nobody will be speaking to you.

Then you will go back to work a nervous wreck. Since that's what made you a nervous wreck to begin with, you will be in essence a double nervous wreck. You will no doubt go off the deep end and be forced to stay off work while you regroup. After your sick leave is up and your remaining vacation time spent, you will have little or no income. You will lose your home and all your worldly possessions.

All because of a list.

Like I said, lists are stupid.

Why not just wait 'til the last minute and toss a bunch of stuff into a duffel bag, and sort it all out when you get where you're going, and hope you didn't forget anything important.

When you stuff, you do the same thing you'd do if you had a list, only it's faster, because you don't have to keep crossing off things, and wondering what you might have forgotten to write down.

Last night, after I threw the list awy, I started stuffing. Stuffing is mindless, which means I'm well suited for it.

I stuffed shorts and T-shirts and socks and underwear, into my duffel bag. I stuffed sweatshirts ... I stuffed and stuffed.

After the stuff was stuffed, I tackled my tackle. I peeled all the melted artificial worms off my tackle box trays, and pried a piece of petrified nightcrawler off a walleye rig. Then I tackled a huge mass of metal that consisted of six lures, with as many hooks.

But the time I managed to separate the lures, and remove four hooks from the palm of my hand, where they had become attached, it was past my bedtime.

I grabbed my rods with my good hand, and stuffed them into a rod case. I grabbed the suntan lotion and all-natural bug stuff, and shoved them into my bag.

How free it felt, just stuffing like that ... .

When everything was zipped and latched, I got in bed and sighed a sigh of relief. I was just drifting off when fear struck. I sat bolt upright.

I just KNEW there was something very very important on that 11th list that I had forgotten to stuff. But what could it have been?

I dragged myself out of bed, and headed for the sidewalk, where I had put the trash bag. Unfortunately, the garbage collector had already picked it up.

I refused to go to the dump.

I called my brother Ralph instead. (That shows you how tired I was.)

I told him I just KNEW I'd forgotten something.

"What's the matter, sis. You sound list-less," he said. "HA HA HA HA."

I hung up on him, and crawled back into bed.

Maybe it was the hormones I'd forgotten. I had no way of knowing for sure. I'd never find them if they were in the apartment, because it was a disaster area, and I was too exhausted to go through all the stuff I'd stuffed. I could only hope.

If it was the hormones, I'd get real mean and homicidal and maybe I'd go into an insane rage and put my brother out of his misery. Or put him out of MY misery.

"Ye-e-e-e-s-s," I heard myself hissing, as I drifted off.

I slept like a log.

Terry Talbert is a Herald-Mail staff writer.

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