Sunday, March 22, 2020

101 Things #79 - Pick a Card

Today's little diatribe, as part of my now-maturing-nicely series of rejections of the bucket-list ideas of others, 101 Things I Refuse To Do Before I Die, has probably the longest title of the set. So step forth, the author of Daring To Live as we unveil your notion to

Create a set of cards with inspirational sayings on them and leave them in random places for strangers to find.

Actually, others have also proposed this particular idea but that does not make it any better - consider this odd variant from Get Off The Couch:

Leave an inspirational message on a sticky note
 in a bathroom or public place

Let us first clear some of the undergrowth before going for the jugular [Rather confused metaphors there: Ed]. I don't know what a "random" place might be. Wherever you might happen to be is somewhere definite and results in your choice of having gone there. Even if you find a way to be somewhere unexpected (perhaps by jumping into a taxi and telling the cabbie to "Just drive, mate, and here's £200 to be getting on with") then you still have to place your cards. If you drop them in the street you are merely littering. If you leave them on pub tables, they will be used as beer mats. If you hand them out to passers-by they will avoid you with the same disdain we all give to unwanted charity collectors and religious enthusiasts. Resorting to pinning them in phone boxes will mean associating with a very different class of cards and will undermine the image you are trying to create.

Incidentally, you will have to go somewhere you are unknown, otherwise it is possible that the people finding your cards will not be strangers. If they recognise you, or your handwriting, you will find yourself all over Facebook with derogatory postings such as "That nutter from number 38 is doing another of his stupid bucket-list stunts again".

Anyway, let us suppose you are in a new location and have found places to secrete your messages - amongst the romance section in some library, perhaps. You can stand with your back to the cameras and the cool quizzical glance of the librarians as you fumble the cards inside the front cover of Lord Jasper's Marriage, The Mistress of Muldoon Manor and She Got What She Wanted1.

Now we have reviewed the difficulties inherent in genuinely placing our cards randomly amongst strangers, let us turn to the nub of the gist - what are these so-called inspirational messages with which they are to be inscribed?

Are we meant to be recycling the ideas of others or using our own? If the former, then how derivative and boring. And how arrogant, to assume that we have the right to thrust notions in front of others in the first place. They may already be familiar with the constructs in question and might, for very good reasons, wish to reject them. If so, reminding them does not make for a good deed but for a stupid one. More likely the ideas will be utterly trite or utterly unworkable. Ideas such as :
  • See the beauty of the world in every flower. 
  • Smile at strangers to make their day. 
  • Go placidly, and the rest of all that bollocks.2 
  • Do not ask for credit as a refusal often offends. 
  • Please remember to take all of your personal belongings with you when you exit the train.
  • A stitch in time saves having to go to the menders on the corner who are always shut. 
  • Don't put off to tomorrow what you can find some mug to do today. 
  • What goes up must continue going up if it is moving at escape velocity.

Surely you must come up with some inspiration of your own. Aha, but if you were truly inspired then you wouldn't be looking at other people's bucket-lists for ideas, would you? Got you!

The world is full of people telling everybody else what to think. It is ridiculous to add yet more woffle to the pile. Stick your inspiration on a website or something, by all means, so that those in search of enlightenment can find it. Leave the rest of us alone to browse through Sir Henry and the Scullery Maid in peace, please 3.

1. I am not sure if any these titles exists. I would be happy to knock one or all of them out for a reasonable advance. 
2. The first two words are from Desiderata by Max Erhmann. The rest of the sentence is by Ramblings of Ruislip and is strictly copyright  © 2020 so see my lawyers if you wish to quote it.
3. This one is for a rather restricted market.

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