As literally dozens of people await the publication of my Life List, I thought I’d prolong the drum roll a bit more with what might be called the Retroactive Life List: a few things I really wanted to do and did, but didn’t put on a Life List since I didn’t have such a List at the time.
Bending the rules? Well, maybe, a tad– but it seems unfair to be penalized simply because I didn’t have an official List on which to put these achievements. It’s possibly a violation of some right I might have–let me check– if in fact one can violate one’s own rights.
So, two items for the RLL:
1. Act in a play. I’d always wanted to do this, having been nibbled on if not bitten by the thespian bug in high school, where I played a bored, sleepy member of a church choir who kept nodding off and snoring at key moments of the preacher’s sermon. I brought real verisimilitude to this admittedly tiny part because I was, in fact, bored and sleepy and nodding off through most of high school.
Anyway, I vowed to do better if I ever got a real role I could sink my teeth into, and lo and behold a couple years ago I did 12 nights of community theater as Mayor Shinn/Charlie Cowell in that American classic The Music Man, wherein I blustered and threatened and chased that conniving Harold Hill all over town while, this time, the audience was bored and sleepy and nodding off. (Just kidding.) I exceeded expectations, which were low, but it was a lot of fun and just the kind of thing that would have been on my Life List had I had one at the time. So check it off, baby.
2. Go to Africa. Always dreamed of it as a kid. Been there, done that back in the 80s. Spent almost two weeks on what is no longer called the Dark Continent in South Africa–Johannesburg, Praetoria, Durban (where Gandhi lived for a while), Cape Town (incredibly beautiful then and dangerous now, I read). A highlight was a night in Kreuger National Park, where we went on an after-dark tour in an armored, open-top jeep. At one point the driver stopped in the darkness and pointed out the Southern Cross above. Then the guide who was sitting out on the hood, cradling a rifle, pointed his big flashlight about fifty feet off the dirt road. There, its eyes gleaming in the light, was a huge anteater standing upright as it gorged from a 6-foot tall anthill. About that time a lion coughed in the distance, and I realized I was definitely not in Dallas anymore. (I am not making this up. If I was making it up, the lion would have charged the jeep.) Check.
Over and out for a few days. I’m traveling laptopless, so it’ll be blog silence unless I check in from a Wi-Fi bar in New York.
Oh. Add NYC to the RLL: I longed to see New York years before I finally got there, and I still remember one aha-moment from the first trip: Taking a cab to interview (name-drop alert) the playwright Neil Simon, I happened to see Andy Warhol passing out copies of his Interview magazine on the street. Nobody seemed to be looking at him. I’ve probably been to New York 20 times now on business and pleasure, and every trip seems better than the last one. Check, please.