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Top Five Reasons Never to Do a Top Five List

With the economy tanking, literacy flagging, scalps balding, and my Mountaineers viciously knocked out of the NCAA’s, what else is there to do but cantankerously write something that goes fundamentally counter to the tide of popular culture? Seriously, what else is there to do? Nope, all those ideas are dumb.

The only thing to do in such situations is to look for some catharsis in contravention of contemporary convention. Therefore, here I fix my pen to this parchment and make my case: Top Five Reasons Never to do a Top Five List.

1. It’s overdone. I mean, how many top five lists were done on Facebook alone yesterday? (I’m looking at you, Mister Doctor Travis Prinzi, author of Top Five Things I Like About Harry Potter.) Some people are revealing so much about themselves in these things that they may get their identity stolen. And without your identity, who will you become? Unidentifiable? People won’t be able to identify with you. Come on, do something original like starting up a chain e-mail with threats of serious harm if it is not forwarded to ten people and promises of amazing results if it is. Add some pictures of (an unbiblical, wimpy) “Jesus” crying over some tragedy like he is so sorry this happened there was nothing he could do…and some puppies.

2. Like there’s ever exactly five reasons to do anything, or list anything? It’s so imprecise. I usually have my favorites in increments of 11, in keeping with a football team’s legitimate quota of bodies on the field. If I list any more than eleven I immediately flag myself for illegal participation.

3. I don’t know beans about anything, so why should anybody care about my “Top Five Huggable Moments in Care Bear lore,” or my “Top Five Five-foot-five NBA players?” And incidentally, do you know where the expression “He doesn’t know beans about…” came from? It hearkens way back to the time when you were deemed educated if you could count to five using beans. If you couldn’t do it, you didn’t “know beans.” If you could then you were able to do business in an agrarian market. Boy, I’m sure glad we don’t have a rural, agrarian market-base now. Man, this urbanization of people, centralization of power, industrialization of markets, and homogenization of culture is really working out great!

4. It’s unfair to the overwhelming majority of us so-called creative types who are so depressed half the time we strongly prefer to do “Bottom Five” Lists. It’s just prejudicial. Against weirdos. And we Weirdos are considering forming a special interest group and hiring a lobbyist and asking for bailout money and for free merit badges and free mortgages and free range chickens. Weirdos of the world unite, we have nothing to lose but what’s left of our sanity.

5. It gives people the illusion that a bunch of people care what their top 5 of anything is. Sometimes it truly is interesting. I actually would like to know what “Ron Block’s Top Five Favorite Books He Read Yesterday” are, but that’s the exception. If a guy is willing to read one hundred books a day and still have time to play music like that, then I’m interested. But does anybody care what my top five reasons to eat Famous Amos cookies are? Does anyone want to know anything about me? Once you get past the Essential Questions (1. What’s your favorite color? 2. What do you want to be when you grow up?) what else is left to know? Is my insistence on promoting my own top five list an unwanted advance, an arrogant presumption? I mean, who would promote themselves so shamelessly?

This concludes my top five-reasons never to do a top-five list. Can you think of more? Or would you like to brazenly reject my thesis and place in the comments section your very own top-five list of…well, anything?  Or we can skip that and go straight to the good stuff:

What’s your favorite color and what do you want to be when you grow up?

Now forward this post to ten friends and watch the blessings pour in. But let me warn you, if you do not forward this post to ten friends and likewise warn them to do the same, then I will hack into your e-mail account and do it myself. While I’m there, I will probably steal your identity.


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