I LOVE lists. Especially lists in alphabetical order. In fact, love them so much I’ll share with you my latest for 2011. About what you should avoid at all costs:
1.Beauty magazines, billboards and their airbrushed celebrities – they’ll only make you feel (and look) ugly. Like those banned Olay ads of Twiggy, not to mention David Cameron’s silly poster campaign early last year.
2.Exercise – ever since epidemiologists started using devices like “accelerometers” to weed out cheats like me. (But even these can be fooled if you know how. Just put a pedometer on your dog and send him off for a run or on top of the washing machine -the pedometer, not the dog! – set to the spin cycle. A computer, you see, can’t tell what causes the movements – it just counts them.)
3. Extreme sports like bungee jumping, parachuting, base jumping – got enough bad hair days as it is.
4. Forecasts especially of the weather kind. They’re just as reliable as horoscopes (below), and for the same reason: they only need to be vague enough to cover all eventualities. And you’ve probably noticed how weathermen are becoming really expert at vagueness. (Ever since famously predicting a barbecue summer followed by a milder than average winter last year.) Tossing a coin is probably a good option in most cases; a random guess will generally be slightly better than wishful thinking.
5. Horoscopes – and the way they give astrologists that massive get-out clause. Talk about blame your planets; all you need to say when anything goes wrong is: “Well, of course, last night there was a penumbral lunar eclipse in conjunction with my Leo rising” if you’re feeling technical. Or, if not, merely sigh and say “I’m a Taurus – just can’t say ‘No’!”
6. Media – don’t believe everything you read in the press. Alarmist reports and extremist views sell more papers than good news stories. Believe only half of what you hear; a third of what you see and a quarter of what you read.
7. Mobile Applications. Doubtlessly Apple has a politically correct, moral-improvement app. in development. Doubtlessly, too, a free download.
8. Nativity plays. Maybe I’m in a minority of one but I can’t stand nativity plays with 5 year-olds fluffing their single line, singing appallingly and one precocious little brat (invariably the third shepherd’s wife on the left) taking over in a toe-curlingly oafish way everyone else seems to find so “cute”.
9. Social networking sites like Twitter. For nutters who have nothing better to do and desperately need friends… but can’t socialize in reality. Who the hell cares what these twittering twits had for breakfast?
10. Wish lists – that are never fulfilled. Unless you’re an obsessive compulsive list-maker like me. Or should that be: “compulsive-obsessive” – because that’s in alphabetical order …
Nora Johnson’s novel, The De Clerambault Code (www.nora-johnson.com) available at Amazon. Profits to Cudeca