Sunday, September 07, 2008

50 Things Not To Do Before You Die

Recently, I've seen a couple of TV shows and read several articles that list the Top 50 things to do before you die. Oddly enough, Number One is often 'Swim with dolphins'. As I've mentioned before, I've never quite understood why swimming with a sea mammal - and a not especially bright sea mammal either despite the media and New Age hype - is the Number One thing to do. Surely there are worthier or more impressive things to do? Like saving a child's life by donating money or going into space or visiting the greatest natural wonders on this amazing planet? As I pointed out in this post back in January, Ricky Gervais's mate Karl Pilkington may have nailed it: 'I wonder if it’s just the location that makes people pick it? If dolphins swam in the Thames, would it be as popular?'

Anyhow, it started me thinking ... surely a more useful book would be one that tells you the 50 things you shouldn't do before you die? How useful would that be? Think of all the time you'd save and all of the disappointment you'd avoid.

So I've made a start and I'm inviting you to suggest some more.

Visit Hull - I can understand it for business or sporting reasons. I can even understand visiting the place for family reunions, weddings and christenings. But for pleasure? Come on …

Work on the bins for a week - One week of rotten nappies, maggots and indefinable fluids will have you worshipping the men who strew your street with sweet wrappers and egg shells every week.

Pluck out your beard hairs rather than shave - This really hurts. You women are mental.

Poke yourself in the eye - This really, really hurts. And it aches for ages afterwards.

Watch Catwoman with Halle Berry - Obviously, this may exit the list if you get the opportunity to watch Catwoman with Halle Berry. She’s a fox. The film is a dog. About cats.

Learn to play the piano accordion - Why bother? No one will ever let you play it without beating you. The exception is at folk concerts. Which, in a way, is its own punishment. A wise man once said that the definition of a gentleman is 'one who can play the accordion and doesn't'.

Drive anywhere on the M25 - Life really is too short (note: The M25 is London's orbital motorway. It is so congested most days that it has been nicknamed the world's largest orbital traffic jam).

Dentistry without anaesthetic - When having some minor piece of work done, my dentist often asks, ‘Want me to numb you up?’ Once I said no, thinking of the monetary saving. Never, ever, ever again.

Go swimming with pilchards - Not as life-affirming or spiritual as you might think. Especially when those evil dolphins come after you.

Die - The obvious one really.

So now it's over to you ... what else should we all avoid like a tramp with herpes?


chris hale said...

Well now, here's a subject.

More things not to do:

Visit IKEA on a Saturday. I did it yesterday. I think the middle classes have started taking their children to Ikea for holidays now instead of Umbria or Tuscany. They smile indulgently as their kids trash the hell out of Glob wardrobes or Huurm beds. I think this furniture superstore deserves a whole blog entry to itself. Don't do Ikea on a Saturday.

Take part in medical research. No matter how tempting those adverts on radio sound, getting a few quid (or euros, dollars, etc.) in exchange for being used as a pincushion is probably not worth it.

Admit that you read the Daily Mail. In July 2008 an average of 2,270,616 read the Mail every day. This makes it the second most popular daily (behind The Sun). I read somewhere that the Mail is read by "the wives of the people who run the country". In certain circles, to admit ever having opened this paper will have you dismissed as a rabid everything-ophobe who should be shunned with a great shun. You'd be less welcome than a leper with halitosis. Most journalists (radio and TV), actors, politicians, etc. hate the thing. So who reads it then?

Swim with krill. Let's face it, there's no thrill with krill.

punk in writing said...

Carrying a set of drums down a spiral staircase while wearing heels. There's a reason why roadies wear trainers.

Stevyn Colgan said...

But it's great with a skate!

Me said...

Erm.....Go to Vegas to pay to see Celine should not do that.

Anonymous said...

Have a BSA wax "Phwoar! A definite no,no......

chris hale said...

What's a BSA wax? The only BSA I know is the old motorbike. A bit of wax brought them up lovely.

Debby said...

Do not take children to Chuck E. Cheese. Ever. Don't do that. If you do not know about Chuck E. Cheese, you are truly blessed.

PS: Confused about the whole tramp w/ herpes thing...would you be less 'avoidant' if she were a woman of good repute with herpes?

PPS: What's a BSA? What's a phwoar?

Stevyn Colgan said...

Right then ... at the risk of freaking everyone out, the BSA wax (much as I'd love it to be an old motorcycle) is actually a particularly severe defoliation regime for the more hirsute person. It stands for 'Back, Sac and Arse' - though I prefer the more poetic 'Back, Sac and Crack'. Ah, when I say I prefer I don't mean ... me? Hell no. I couldn't cope with the pain. The hirsute ladies' version is, I believe, the Back, Snatch and Arse'.

'Phwoar!' is a popular British onomatapoeic sound that a certain kind of sexist male comedian would utter upon sight of a shapely young lady. Say it with me ... 'Phwoooar! and make an appropriately obscene gesture.

I don't want to snog a tramp of any sex or persuasion and herpes would just make that deision all the more final if I ever became desperate enough to consider it. That's because, on this side of the pond, a tramp is a vagrant, hobo or panhandler. And a panhandle is an erection!

Two countries separated by a common language, as someone wiser than me once said.

And yes, Debby, I do know what Chuck E Cheese is and I'm happy to say that we have nothing in the UK quite so crass and ghastly. Yet. Give it time.

The Unbearable Oddness of Stevyn - you may never come here again out of sheer disgust, but it's never less than informative! (Brit Gal Sarah's going to looove this one as she teaches her US chums English peculiarities of speech on her blog!)

Debby said...

Oh, heavens! *howling, wiping tears, and typing at the same time* Okay, then. Avoiding the BSA. Waxing my mustache brings tears to my eyes. The other...phwoar indeed. That has actually risen to first place in my list of things not to do before I die. The question that immediately rises to my mind is 'What sort of man would do that?!!!!!!!' I'm a hick from the sticks. We have no metros here.

Sorry about that Chuck E. Cheese is even part of your conscious. It may bring you pleasure to know that my oldest was trying to get Chuck's attention. He was distracted by a gaggle of other children, all trying to get his attention. She was pulling on his tail, and ripped it right off. I'll never forget the horrified look on her little face as she stood clutching Chuck's mouse tail. The ill tempered rodent snatched his tail from her hands and strode off the floor as the aforementioned gaggled of children followed. Rather the opposite of the Pied Piper...

Jon M said...

Never reply to an e-mail that begins, 'Greetings my virtuous friend from afar, I have just inherited £10,000,000...'

Never burst a blister.

Stuart Peel said...

Apparently the bloke who wrote the original '50 Things To Do Before You Die' book died recently, and had only done about half of the things in his own book. Says it all really doesn't it ?

Anonymous said...

Bungee Jumping - what's with that?
Yeah, I'll just jump off this bridge with a bit of elastic tied to my ankles to avoid certain death.

TUOS is indeed informative and entertaining to boot.

The language differences we're encountering are proving to be quite interesting. I think I might write a book about it. Apparently writing a book is all the rage these days!

Stevyn Colgan said...

Punky - I can relate to that. I was in a band in my teens and we had a drummer who was disabled. Great drummer but not a great walker and militantly independent. Watching him continually falling down stairwells with his drums and resolutely refusing any help is an image that will stay with me forever.

Me - My musical tastes do not include Celine Dion so I agree with you here. That kind of middle-of-the-road caterwauling leaves me cold. If I'm honest, I wouldn't go and see her if she was appearing live in the local boy scout hut. And she paid me to go.

Anonymous - You are a little stirrer aren't you?

Jon M - Ha! Yes. There was a great book out last year called 'Greetings in Jesus name' in which a group of IT experts scammed these 192 scammers back (note: 192 scammers is the term for these emails, mostly originating in Africa, that try to con you into parting with money on the promise of big returns. Rather like that other great scam, the lottery). It's a very funny book and a joy to see these arses get their comeuppance.

Rob - Couldn't agree more. I did a bungee jump when I was 30. Never ever again. And I, for one, will buy your book!

Stu - Great piece of info. There' a starting point for your book, Rob!

joelmead said...

Never go to Milton Keynes…Please

joelmead said...

Don't swim with sewage either as I hear it's quite bad for your health:)

Don't have dinner with Michael Winner

Stevyn Colgan said...

Joel - Sadly I have been to MK several times. It's never been an edifying experience.

I may well have to write a song called 'Don't have dinner with Michael Winner' - it's a lyric that's just too good to ignore.

Persephone said...

Oh, I can't resist. Here's four off the top of my head:

1. Ask a woman with children if she's "out with the grandkids today". (Corollary: Congratulate a woman on her pregnancy. Unless you're really really sure. And you're reasonably sure this is good news. And don't ask if it is good news, you clot...)

2. Tuck heedlessly into Chinese food if you don't know the difference between Szechuan and Cantonese.

3. Read Bridges of Madison County.

4. Go on an amusement park ride which somone under 25 has assured you is "not scary".

Stevyn Colgan said...

Persephone - excellent additions. I have performed three of these faux pas and its been an unmitigated disaster in every instance. How I wish I'd had your advice beforehand. x

willow said...

I actually had two teeth filled once without novacaine. You're right, it's not a good idea. And this is coming from a female with a high pain threshold.

Stevyn Colgan said...

Willow - You're a braver lady than me. Not that I'm a lady of course.

Brit' Gal Sarah said...

Drive on the M25, I used to do the busiest section twice a day everyday - MADNESS or will drive you to it!

Oh and I would add as per your first comment - build anything from IKEA!

Anonymous said...

Okay, now I can't get David Walliams out of my head.

Stevyn Colgan said...

Sarah - So so true

Rob - Is David Walliams something not to do before you die?!?

Anonymous said...

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