I am in inveterate list maker. I have lists of my lists in little notebooks. As life gets more complicated and my attentions shift, I find I need more lists. I wonder who wrote the first list? I don’t remember mention of them in The Clan of the Cave Bear. (My foremost authority on pre-historic beings.) Perhaps a fascinating young woman named Lindsay Eaves Hunter could find the answer for me in her pursuit of paleontology in Africa.
We make shopping lists, grocery lists, Christmas present lists. The methods of composing those lists has certainly changed. From scrounging around to find a crayon hoping to also unearth an envelope with a clean back; to the type and swipe or voice record, instant list of passwords we all keep right there so we can find them.
Lists indicate productivity; listless is synonymous with inactive. If I have no list, I must be lethargic, spiritless, lifeless. So evolution was a good thing; we learned to jot it down but has it driven us to distraction? We have lists of the missing, the wounded, the champions and the heroes. I think it makes each individual seem less important when they are part of a list.
The end of the year marks the list maker’s pinnacle. We list the best and worst of the year. Someone makes a list of who we lost and what our triumphs were as a human race. Lists chronicle the past and drive the future.
A résumé is really just my list of accomplishments and the guest list is who will show up and behave as we expect. I love the current spate of lists that help us identify with who we are such as “You might have grown up here if you remember this…”
How do I love you? Let me list the ways…