My new copy of Esquire arrived today, featuring a list of 75 things every man should do by Tom Chiarella. (Sadly there’s no online link yet.) This is a sequel, the previous list being 75 skills every man should master. I notice this month’s version got a big fold-out ad placement from Patron, and on the heels of the previous list it’s one of those nice edit specials that practically sells itself to advertisers. In this day and age of the media industry, it’s reassuring to see nearly any ad buy, much less a foldout.
While there are many good entries, and by that I mean several that I’ve done, this list is at times a bit too cosmopolitan for my taste — eat mussels in Bruges? Live in a hotel suite for a week? I don’t think it takes riches to achieve a great list of worthwhile accomplishments. Here are my addenda:
- Buy a home. Care and ownership is a surprisingly humbling experience.
- Read from the Western canon. Going back and hitting those high-school requirements you missed really is worth it.
- Have more than one bad-date story. Mine are the time that I was three hours late, bombed the execution, gave up on things completely, then later found out I should have called anyway because the girl was disappointed that she never heard from me; and the time a date of mine got drunk and started heckling the comedians at the stand-up club. You need a good supply of these for when you’re married and still at a party with single people.
- Own a pet. Good preparation for kids. Plus, fun.
- Gain a firsthand memory of just why violence is bad. Get beat up, beat someone and feel guilty, or just watch a fight and be sickened by it — it’s far too easy to be a cheerleader when you’re far away.
- Swim in a natural body of water. Fewer people do this than we’d think.
- Join a national organization. The military is a great one, but so are the Sierra Club, PADI and the Elks Lodge.
- Go to a city council meeting. The business of altering people’s lives can be surprisingly mundane.
- Listen to an old guy’s stories. That’ll be you someday wishing it mattered just as much to someone else.
- Put one of your stories in writing, even if you’re the only one who rereads it. Nothing like the written word to imbue meaning.