Jotting down the Un-Bucket List

There are so many things I DON’T want to do before I die that I have started a list of them that you can stick in my coffin when I pass. Oh, I forgot; I’m not having a coffin. I’m leaving my body to science – astronomy.

Here is my un-bucket list:

• Visit North Korea. In these days of extreme everything, the goal of extreme travel is to go someplace none of your friends will ever go, even if they are world travelers – someplace that will dominate the dinner conversation, a trip that no one can top.

It’s not easy to find such a place. A few years ago, a headline in the travel section of The New York Times asked, “Why Is Everyone Going to Bhutan?” It was all the sillier when you realized that many of the New Yorkers going to Bhutan had never been to Brooklyn.

• Paint my body and go shirtless to a football game. It seems that fewer and fewer people go to football games to watch football. They go so they can be on TV instead of those overpaid showoffs in uniforms who keep distracting the camera operators’ attention from the fans who put in the time and effort to take off their shirts.

• Appear on a reality show. Unless it’s about lottery winners.

• Visit any spring-break town during spring break. Yes, I can see you’re wearing a hat that lets you drink from two cans of beer at once. It also explains why you think you’re going to pay off $80,000 in student loans once you get your B.A. in remedial finger painting.

• Live in a gated community. Those gates, senor — I don’t think they will keep Zorro out. He is very clever, you know.

• Eat disgusting food on purpose. A friend told me he was visiting a distant land with different customs, and at a feast one night he was offered a sheep’s eyeball. Not wanting to offend, he ate it. Later in the meal, he asked one of his seatmates why he had been offered the sheep’s eyeball. “Is it because I am an honored guest?”

“No,” said his new friend. “They gave it to you because we don’t like them.”

• Skydive. There has to be an easier way to get more legroom than jumping out of the plane. I’m sure that if you upgrade to first class, you’ll be allowed to stay for the landing. The only way skydiving could possibly be fun is if they make you wear one of those “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” medical alarms when you hit the ground.

• Climb rocks. In-line skating looks as if it would be fun. Bowling looks as if it would be fun. Skiing looks as if it would be fun. Rock climbing, like bullfighting, does not look like it would be fun. It looks like a good way to get hurt, and when people learn that you hurt yourself rock climbing, it makes them happy. I don’t want to make people happy.

• Do time in a country-club prison. I watch the news, and all the guys who are sentenced to life terms in country-club prisons seem to be about my age. Now I cross to the other side of the street when I see a white-haired man in a business suit walking toward me, because he’s probably going to his office to start a Ponzi scheme that my broker, who’s my age, will buy into.

• Make a bucket list. I’ve made a Happy List. I may not do everything on it, but it won’t matter, will it? I’ll still be happy.

Jim Mullen’s newest book, “How to Lose Money in Your Spare Time — At Home,” is available at You can follow him on Pinterest at

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