Of all of the contrivances of humankind we've stumbled upon since the dawn of
civilization, none is
more inherently absurd than the prosaic "To Do List."
Why? Because despite its obvious utility, there is no more quixotic
endeavor we will ever embark upon in our lifetimes. That's because no one --- not
Leonardo DaVinci, not Albert Einstein, not even James Franco --- has ever
You probably compile each day's To Do List much as I do mine. You inscribe the
day of the week at the top of the page, then begin listing the tasks you hope
to complete, setting down the most difficult and challenging ones first, such
Complete all work on Kropotkin File.
Write the great American novel, making sure to create iconic characters named
Huck, Atticus, and Dr. Sidney Horowitz.
Ted Talk explicating Joycean imagery and Boolean logistics in both Ted movies, I and II.
5) Usher in era of world peace and understanding.
when I was in school we were taught that when a task was finished you should
make a cute little check mark and place it delicately to the right side of the
task indicating its completion, then go off to have tea and dainty
sandwiches with the duchess.
is not, however, what I do today. What I do is I grind my pencil on the
completed task back and forth and back and forth with a furious vengeance until
the item is totally obliterated and forever out of my life. When I am done with
all tasks on the page, it looks like a piece of blackened redfish.
next grouping of items begins to diminish somewhat in importance ...
Report status of Kropotkin file to Kropotkin.
under-performing employee, making sure not to dance happy jig during termination meeting.
8) Discuss diction discrepancies discretely with
Dickson. Say that fast five times.
9) Attend fiscal budgeting meeting with Finance, drinking gallon of Red Bull first.
Down on something.
so many of us put so many tasks on our To Do List knowing full well we could
never hope to complete them all? Chalk it up as a triumph of hope over
though yesterday’s list is as barren of check marks as a Hollywood Squares game
board played by contestants totally baffled by Paul Lynde and Charley Weaver,
we all have a need to believe about ourselves that tomorrow we’ll be sharper,
quicker, and less hung over than ever before, and dad gum!, for the first time
ever we’ll get everything on the list done!
last items on the list are generally on the order of ...
Arrange weekend staring contest.
Fantasize about being friends with Samuel L. Jackson.
Collect all loose paper clips.
don’t know about you, but comes the end of the day and what have I accomplished
from my list? Well, I’ve got all those paperclips in outstanding order and believe
me, Samuel L. Jackson is great to play golf with but you got to watch him
carefully around the greens.
what now? Well, at the top of my list I do as follows:
And this, I’m afraid, will ever
be the state of humankind unless and until someday somewhere someone comes up
with perhaps the most important invention humankind could ever hope to devise.
Self-Completing To Do List.
then, we are all hopelessly Prisoners of Agenda.