Every time friends start sharing their “bucket lists,” I retreat to the nearest ladies’ room to spend time alone with the delusion that I’m not old enough to have one.
Bucket lists are the place to file all the insanely awesome stuff you meant to do before careers, rug rats and April 15 got in the way of the fun you meant to have as a grown-up. It’s tough to schedule Mount Everest expeditions between PTO meetings.
Since the days of secret plans and locked diaries are over, you’ll find several zillion bucket lists online, in case you run out of ideas. There are lots of regular people—maybe some of the folks singing right next to you in the church choir—who really want to milk a pit viper, wrestle a moose and rappel off the Eiffel Tower. You’ll also find a few mashed couch potatoes who hope to keep breathing long enough to grow a tomato and lose three pounds. (Forget Ambien, read their lists.)
“Stuff to do before you die” lists went mainstream after Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman spent their final days racking up adventures in a movie called The Bucket List. Now everybody has a bucket list, and you’d be amazed how many feature bungee jumping in the “must-do” section.
Besides riding an elephant to her Zumba class and serving fondue from a volcano, my friend Rachel— mild‑mannered, cookie-baking, sockknitting grandmother of seven—wants to bungee jump off the Bloukrans Bridge in South Africa. That’s a lovely structure arching 708 feet above a river flanked by solid rock cliffs on which to bang your head.
OK, I get the elephant thing, but bungee jumping? Much to the envy of her bionic Mahjong buds, Rachel still has all her original parts. You’d think she’d want to keep them.
Let’s be clear: Bungee jumping involves tall buildings, cranes, hot-air balloons or helicopters that were minding their own business until someone strapped an elastic cord between them and some leaping lunatic’s ankles. To me, this has “bad plan” written all over it.
“You are about as adventurous as a Brussels sprout,” Rachel lamented.
“Yeah, a Brussels sprout who knows the difference between a bucket list entry and a death wish,” I retorted. “Why don’t you hop off the Piggly Wiggly checkout counter a few times to be sure you like it?”
Bungee jumping isn’t for everyone. Humorist Jeanne Robertson was 62 when she was invited to bungee jump in Canada with her husband, who refused because his teeth might fall out. But the jumping facility did offer a safe place to leave hearing aids and dentures, which mature jumpers appreciate. Robertson thought the leap might knock a few saggy parts back into place, but in the end she declined the adventure.
At 96, Mohr Keet became the oldest bungee jumper on the planet when he leaped off the Bloukrans Bridge (Rachel’s bridge of choice) in 2010. The event was captured on YouTube, where the video shows him moving slowly to the launch point, balancing on a cane. Moments before Keet went bouncing off the bridge like an antique yo-yo, someone checked his blood pressure. Apparently, you can’t jump to your possible death if you’re having a heart attack. Go figure.
First entry on my bucket list: Find my first sane friend. Preferably one who likes Brussels sprouts.
JAN A. IGOE, our humor-writing vegetable, lives in Horry County and would love to read your bucket list to offer safety tips. Write Jan at HumorMe@SCLiving.coop.