One thing that never fails to wind me up is when someone mentions their bucket list. When they tell you that ‘it’s on my bucket list‘ and expect some sort of respect or even congratulations. We both absolutely hate the expression for a number of reasons which I will attempt to explain without ranting or raving too much.
What is a Bucket List?
The general consensus is that the term was created for the 2007 film ‘The Bucket List‘ where Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman play two terminally ill guys who draw up a wish list of things to do before they die. So a list to do before they ‘kick the bucket’. Nice idea for a film and actually quite a decent funny movie.
The actual phrase came from Justin Zackhams screenplay for the movie that he wrote a year earlier. He came up with a list that he called ‘Justins list of things to do before I kick the bucket‘ which soon shortened to ‘Justins Bucket List‘ which eventually turned into the films final title.
Interestingly, if you search for ‘Bucket List‘ on Google you get 103 million results. That’s more than double what you get if you search for David Beckham, Tom Cruise and Beyonce combined! One hundred and three million and the phrase was only made-up ten years ago.
What’s wrong with having a Bucket List?
Nothing at all if you are in Jack or Morgans situation but for most people it is really just a wishlist of places that they want to visit. Why can’t they just call it their wishlist? They’re not on the verge of kicking the bucket so it seems ridiculous to use the phrase.
So what sort of things are on the ‘list’?
By their very nature items are added to these ‘lists’ based on secondhand stories or information. You hear a story about someones amazing holiday, or watch a travel documentary, or even read a book and decide that you would love to visit that location. Not a problem. That’s how everyone has ever decided to go anywhere. Watch an episode of Friends and stick New York on the list. Listen to Dave from next door talking about his skiing trip and put St Moritz on the list. Read Angels and Demons by Dan Brown and ……… well you know what I mean.
And you end up with a list of places that you would like to go to, or wish to go to. That list could potentially be called a ‘Want-to-go list‘ I suppose or perhaps a ‘Hope-to-see list‘ or even a ‘Wish list‘. I might even consider a ‘One-day-I’d-like-to-go-to list‘ although it’s a bit of a mouthful. What you will notice though is the lack of buckets!
Is it actually a list?
No. It isn’t a list at all in most cases. The majority of people who mention that ‘it’s on my bucket list‘ do not have any such list or any such bucket. It appears to be just another way of saying that they would like to go there someday. So why not just say ‘I would like to go there someday‘ instead of mentioning a fictitious list that implies you are suffering from some sort of terminal affliction.
Another side-affect of the bucket list is that the users of the term often use it in conversation to counter a travel story from someone else. Countless times we have heard a story being told by a person that has been on a trip and the listener combating the travel tale with ‘oh it’s on my bucket list‘ as if that is like doing the trip themselves almost. Interesting.
Don’t talk to me about Bucket Lists
So please try not to use the term ‘Bucket List‘ and think of something that doesn’t imply you are on your last legs. It sounds so negative and depressing too, there must be a more uplifting positive description surely?
Rant over, apologies for going red in the face and shouting a little but I’m calming down a bit now. I don’t actually mind you calling it your BL and it doesn’t really make me crazy but there really must be a better way.
What do you think?