The History of Buckets and Lists

Posted on June 17, 2019


Life in the Boomer Lane has a lot of respect for the person who invented the bucket. While open-ended containers with flat bottoms have been around ever since the first humanoid said, “I need something to carry this shit in,” the earliest depictions of buckets are found on carvings dating from around 3200 BC, which show the Pharaoh Narmer with a servant carrying a bucket.  A recent translation of the hieroglyphis near the illustration roughly translates to “If this bucket had a handle, I would more easily carry this shit around.”

Too late for that servant, but luckily for others, the handle was invented in Medieval times. This allowed people to say, “Our lives are pretty much filled with rotten teeth and dying of Plague, but at least we have handles on our buckets.”

Buckets made carrying water and milking cows way easier, until faucets and supermarkets were invented. They were also used in war machines like catapults as an early form of germ warfare, used for hurling waste, dead and diseased human body parts and animals over the fortification walls of towns, castles and keeps.

LBL will new give Loyal Readers a moment to savor this last sentence. She sincerely hopes all of you will now take a moment to stop obsessing about the current administration, taxes, and cholesterol and instead, thank your lucky stars that you don’t have to live with diseased body parts raining down on your heads.

We may now continue. The glories of the bucket pretty much continued until the twentieth century, when some enterprising person discovered that the word “list” could be attached to the word “bucket” and come up with an entirely new way for people to define their lives. Now, people no longer had to declare huge, life-defining visions. All they had to have was a mental bucket and a lot of stuff to put into it. Instead of saying, “My vision is to serve mankind,” they could say, “Visiting Paris and Pittsfield, Mass are on my bucket list.”

As more and more people acquired mental buckets and lists of stuff to put into them, people began to copy other people’s bucket lists. This created the alarming situation we are in now: People all over the world wanting to fill their buckets with exactly the same stuff and then constantly announce to everyone via Facebook what, exactly, they have in their buckets.

One item everyone now seems have in their buckets is to climb a mountain. No particular mountain, just any random mountain. Everest, in particular, has become a real winner. There are so many traffic jams now on Everest, that people have to wait hours to traverse the narrow, hair-raising passages. This results in people getting really antsy and distracted (probably pissed that they are wasting valuable time that could otherwise be used to cross off another bucket list item) and that results in them losing their balance and hurling off the mountain without being able to cross the Everest item off their bucket list.

Another way popular item on everyone’s bucket list is “Visit Paris and go to the Louvre and see the Mona Lisa.” While this item does not result in death, it does create another form of traffic jam. Mobs of people now strain to get as close to Mona as possible, holding aloft their iphones to get evidence of the great event. So many people, in fact, that guards at the Louvre recently went on strike because they felt that the crowds prevented them from insuring either the safety of the artwork or of the gallery visitors.

LBL asked a recent bucket list visitor how he liked the Mona Lisa. He said, “It was great! I got a photo! I crossed it off my bucket list!” LBL followed by asking him about Da Vinci. “I don’t know anything about that,” he said. “Is that person or a mountain? Should he be on my bucket list?”

Other popular Bucket List items are the Camino or the Appalachian Trail, skydiving, Machu Picchu, stay in an ice hotel. All of these have been especially overrun with tourism. LBL, herself, is planning to visit Dubrovnik, in Croatia. She has been there before and she would normally encourage everyone to visit, as well. But Dubrovnik is also a Bucket List hotspot, so she is loathe to encourage people.

Here’s to the Bucket List. May yours give you comfort and joy and provide a goal to strive toward. And may you not get tossed off a mountain or bonked in the head with an iphone while you are in pursuit of crossing that item off your list.

Posted in: satire, travel