Fucking Bucket Lists

By Evangeline Jennings

I’ve always believed it’s wrong to take a cheap holiday in someone else’s misery. However, I was reading an article on the website of a leading news and broadcasting organization on the sensitive topic of death and it provoked this rant. I apologize in advance.

Why are fucking bucket lists the preserve of the wealthy and privileged?

Why are certain leading news and broadcasting organizations so obsessed with their own chattering mortality that they decide to gift wrap and serve it up for breakfast to plebeians who clearly have no idea what death is and means?

I really am very sorry that the person featured in the article is dying and I do not mean to criticize that person, but they clearly live in a different world. Because here are some of the bucket list ambitions they have already realized:

  • Recover from chemo on a ridiculously perfect beach
  • Go to Paris just for lunch
  • Be a model and work the catwalk
  • Be driven very fast around a race track in a sports car

And several more are close to fruition:

  • Buy, renovate, and move to a house in the country
  • Get a book published
  • Present a national radio programme

Now here’s the thing. I’ve come close to death on several occasions and earlier this year, I thought it was finally happening. Collapse in public? Check. Come around in ambulance en route to hospital? Check. Four days of tests and monitoring? Check. Discharged and advised to make a succession of follow-up appointments I can’t possibly afford? Check.

And not once during the whole nightmarish experience did I think, Fuck. I never had a man who’s won thirteen grand prix races rush me round the track in a nifty two seater.

Nope. The thoughts that occupied my mind were more along the lines of, Shit. How much is this all costing? If I die, will my family still have to pay? Is my ill-health going to empty my daughter’s college fund? Am I worth more to them dead or alive?

And although I had three finished-ish novels sitting on my hard drive in my home, I gave barely a thought to publishing them and getting to pick “Roadrunner” on Desert Island Disks – other than to wish I had been successful as a writer because then I wouldn’t be scared shitless of leaving people I cared about without the protection of money.

The article I read tried to put a “fresh spin” on its bucket list by calling it a List for Living. Because that’s completely different and much more motivational. Here’s mine:

I’d like to live in a country where individuals are not impoverished and the lives of their children not ruined because of the accident of ill-health, and where all people – regardless of income bracket – are granted a modicum of human dignity.

And because we’re already in dreamland, I’d also like to live in a country where corrupt and perpetually self-serving politicians do not gleefully – and with the connivance of the unutterably stupid – oppress the poor and women by denying them the basic human rights of healthcare and reproductive control, and where “Good Christians” understand that the way to protect the unborn is to provide women with the education, services, support, and life options that mean they don’t have to take and live with the hardest fucking decision of their lives.

Oh. And I also want to go to Paris for lunch. With a catwalk model.


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One thought on “Fucking Bucket Lists

  1. When I had cancer, I asked this question on a forum: you have cancer and probably only have six months to live. What do you want to do with your time? (Which is how much time I thought I had.) Every single answer was something like ‘sail the world’. Ha! As though cancer suddenly gives you the money and energy to do so. Not one person replied with ‘get close to the people I love’.

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