Last year, the man who co-wrote the best-selling adventure travel guide 100 Things To Do Before You Die died at the age of 47. Dave Freeman had visited more than half the places mentioned in his book and done things like running with bulls in Pamplona, Spain, and the centuries-old South Pacific tradition — dubbed the “original bungee jump” — of leaping off tall towers with just a vine attached to his leg.
Then, he unexpectedly died after tripping on a carpet and hitting his head in the hallway of his home in Venice, California.
Recently, my wife challenged me to make my own bucket list. Because 100 adventurous wishes seemed like too many, even for a guy as gung-ho as Dave, I decided to shoot for a shorter list. Also, not wanting to jinx the possibility of all these wishes coming true, I’ve started wearing a bicycle helmet when I’m walking around the downstairs hallway.
Here are 27 things I want to do before I die:
- Sleep through one entire night without having to get up to pee.
- Set foot on each of the seven continents. Or, to save money, maybe just mail an envelope filled with my toenail clippings to the other six continents.
- Have a starring role in a TV show. Preferably not one entitled, The Trial and Conviction of Raymond Lesser.
- Go scuba diving with a whale shark. I’m not sure why this is on my list. I think this must have come from somebody else’s list. Or else it was on my list of “27 Ways That I Don’t Want to Die.”
- Follow food from the field to my table. Maybe go to the country, buy a chicken and then herd it into my frying pan.
- Throw a huge party and invite every one of my friends. Having a gathering like this is something that’s a lot more fun to do before you die, rather than after, which is when most people get around to doing it.
- Ride across a country on a bicycle. But I don’t want to spend months of suffering to accomplish this. So I’m thinking I’ll bike across Monaco, which is less than a mile wide, and take a break halfway to sunbathe on their French Riviera beach.
- Make love on a forest floor. Wait a minute, I’ve done that one already. That was the time I got poison ivy on my …
- Make love on a tropical beach. Only this time maybe get a chance to finish up before getting arrested for indecent exposure.
- Own a room with a view. Of something other than the roof of the building next door.
- Live on my children’s couch. Because you haven’t really lived until you’ve lived on your children’s couch.
- Be in a rock and roll band. And my time is coming soon. I’m fourth on the list to be rhythm guitarist for The Hard of Rock and Hearing. As soon as the three guitarists in front of me get better offers, or arthritis, it’ll be my shot at glory.
- Donate enough money to have my name immortalized on something like a school, or a library, or maybe at least a cage at the animal shelter.
- Spend three months exercising and dieting, getting my body into optimum shape, and then spend the next three months eating take-out food and napping on the porch, getting my body back to normal.
- Own the kind of car that makes everybody on the street wave and point when I go by because it’s so cool, instead of because it needs a new muffler and exhaust pipe.
- Go up in a hot air balloon, only this time remember to take Dorothy and Toto with me.
- Become a Jehovah’s Witness so I can go to all my friends’ houses and see the expression on their faces when I try to convert them.
- Lose all my money gambling in Las Vegas. Wait, I’ve already done that.
- Run a marathon. Or walk a marathon. Or possibly hand a little cup of water to somebody in a marathon.
- Give a compliment to someone that you don’t usually like. Don’t you think Dick Cheney is the sexiest man alive?
- Meet the Pope. Or somebody on the Pope’s first string team, the Cardinals. Or at least the Cardinal’s waterboy.
- Lend money to my cousin Wally and then, just once, have him pay me back.
- Stand on the Great Wall of China and say, “Wow, this is a great wall!”
- Admit I was wrong about something, and not have everyone in the room agree with me.
- Vacation on a Caribbean cruise ship, only this time one without a stomach flu epidemic.
- Have all my hair grow back, and then dye it purple so everyone is sure to notice.
- Visit the birthplace of the Messiah. OK, I admit that I don’t believe that he or she has been born yet. But I’m perfectly happy to wait for as long as it takes.