Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Taking Account of Myself at the 1/3 Life Crisis

Not long ago a friend sent me a list of 100 things she wants to accomplish before she dies. In response, I decided to compose a combo list that includes both the stuff I want to do before I die, as well as a list of things I've already done, mostly so I can feel good about the time I've spent so far kicking around Planet Earth.

I was tempted to refer to it as taking account of myself at my quarter life crisis, as a salute to Mr. John Mayer, but I'm pretty sure he was referring to age 25, not 30, and I think I've got a better shot at kicking off before 90 anyway, so I wound up going with "1/3 life crisis" just to be safe. At any rate, I thought my loyal followers/readers (still haven't come up with a suitable name for you yet) might enjoy perusing it.

Things I’ve Done

1. Wrote two feature-length screenplays (one a 168-page epic about Kung Fu and brine shrimp).

2. Served an LDS mission in Chicago.

3. Earned Bachelor’s of Science in Mass Communications from the University of Utah

4. Earned Masters of Science in American Studies from Utah State University

5. Compiled five years of college-level teaching experience, in the process using clips from “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, “The Blues Brothers”, “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” (among others), and songs like “I’m Too Sexy” (Right Said Fred), “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” (Rolling Stones) and “Rocking the Casbah” (The Clash) (among others) in my lessons.

6. Made $50 as drummer for a Neil Diamond cover band at the 2003 USU Valentine’s Dance

7. Completed two-part graduate thesis, Planet Venison Web site and accompanying paper: “The Genesis of Planet Venison”.

8. Presented a paper at an academic conference in Colorado Springs, Colorado

9. Took a road trip down the coastal highway in Oregon and California

10. Can bench press at least 225 lbs.

11. Maintained my own personal Web site for nearly seven years (

12. Worked as a humor columnist for multiple publications: The Century (Salt Lake Institute of Religion Newsmagazine), The Statesman (Utah State University Student Paper), Transmissions (USU Salt Lake Center newsletter), The Free Agent (University 2nd Stake Teaching Newsletter)

13. Shook Luke Skywalker’s hand

13b. Gave Luke Skywalker my autograph.

14. Sang lead for an authentic Chicago blues band (Big Time Sarah and the BTS Express)

15. Drove a ’79 308 Ferrari (The one Magnum PI drove)

16. Won a homemade salsa contest

17. Drove a ’64 Mustang into a cement wall at 70mph.

18. Got ticketed on Prom for driving my parent’s Honda through Smoot Park in Centerville

19. Drove from Bountiful to Las Vegas without stopping.

20. Hit seven consecutive clay pigeons with a shotgun.

21. Hiked the Zion Narrows (twice--see photo at right).

22. Hiked Angel’s Landing.

23. Taught a class that prompted at least one student to switch majors (TO English, not FROM English!)

24. Attained minor cult-hero status as 32nd Ward Sunday School Instructor.

25. Performed public address duties for Bountiful Days of 47 Parade (twice).

26. Heckled Rocky Anderson during Salt Lake Days of 47 Parade.

27. Visited multiple non-Utah church history sites (Sacred Grove, Hill Cumorah, Kirtland Temple, Nauvoo, Carthage Jail, etc.)

28. Attended 9 temples (Bountiful, Salt Lake, Provo, Chicago, Manti, Logan, Las Vegas, Jordan River, St. George)

28b. Visited several more (Palmyra, Washington DC, Kirtland, Portland, Boise)

29. Eaten at 9 Hard Rock Café’s (Chicago, DC, Dallas, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Niagra Falls, New Orleans, Salt Lake City, Cleveland).

30. Won UHP “Name the Robot” contest in the third grade.

31. Won award for best French student at Centerville Junior High, 1991.

32. Finally beat the 53rd Ward in church basketball, Junior year (1993).

33. Scored 24 points and led my Jr. Jazz team back from a 15 point second half deficit to win, 1992.

34. Saw “Return of the Jedi” 19 times during the summer of 1983.

35. Never had to repeat the sacrament prayer!

36. Haven’t missed a day in my journal since June 1998.

37. Been guest photographer at a Jazz game.

38. Had ward Toga Party end prematurely when a lightning bolt knocked out power at the church.

39. Went down Snake River on a raft.

40. Rode my neighbor Phil’s motorcycle; killed family rabbits when I hit cages in his backyard.

41. Got my Eagle Scout at 13, baby.

42. Had Karl Malone sign a portrait I drew of him at his basketball camp when I was in the eighth grade.

43. Heckled Karl Malone when he returned to the Delta Center during year he played with the Lakers.

44. Dribbled basketballs with John Stockton.

45. Hung out with Delaney Rudd for a week during Karl Malone basketball camp.

45b. Yelled something really offensive at an opponent during a scrimmage in front of Delaney Rudd.

46. Worked professionally as an English teacher, Bouncer, Drummer, Actor, Illustrator, Web Designer, Public Affairs Writer, Columnist, Movie Critic, Vegetable-Picker, Poinsetta Mover, Ticket Sales, TV Cameraman, Cartographer, Fact-Checker, Copywriter, Grocery Bagger, Grocery Checker, Baker, Apprentice Framer, Family History Editor/Writer, Graphic Designer).

47. Paid a guy to pinch another guy’s butt during a sacrament meeting choir performance.

48. Sang in a multi-ward choir for Stake Conference.

49. Wrote academic papers on Stephen King, Ricardo Montalban, the soundtrack to “O Brother, Where Art Thou”, and myself, and got University credit for them.

50. Ate amazing shrimp in San Francisco, New Orleans, and Washington DC.

51. Conducted 32nd Ward sacrament meeting (twice).

Things to Do

  1. Play “A Whiter Shade of Pale” on a Hammond B3 Organ
  2. Shoot/Produce a feature-length film
  3. Publish a book of non-fiction and/or a fiction novel (available at Barnes and Noble)
  4. Become a syndicated columnist
  5. Perform a stand-up routine at an actual comedy club
  6. Get married in the temple
  7. Be a dad (in a “he’s my father” way)
  8. Be a dad (in a “who’s your daddy!” way.)
  9. Have a gallery display of my artwork/photography
  10. Write/perform an original song.
  11. Dunk a (full-size) basketball on a 10-foot hoop. (Already did a mini-ball).
  12. Bench Press 250lbs.
  13. Run a mile in less than 5:30. (Current record: 5:45)
  14. Personally apologize to the student in “Things I’ve Done” #23 for condemning him to a lifetime of unemployment.
  15. Repent for minor cult-hero status as 32nd Ward Sunday School Instructor.
  16. Speak at a fireside/commencement.
  17. Actually watch all of “Annie Hall”, decide whether it’s really as good as everyone says it is.
  18. Compete in a triathlon sprint.
  19. Be ordained a High Priest.
  20. Try snowboarding/skiing
  21. Drive on the Autobahn (while listening to 1970’s German proto-techno band Kraftwerk’s song “Autobahn”)
  22. Eat at first Hard Rock Café (London).
  23. Drive a Shelby Cobra 427 (or comparable replica).
  24. Learn to fly fish.
  25. Go on Super Road Trip, coast-to-coast (or just go on a month-long road trip around the country).
  26. Look up as many “Josh Terry’s” as I can on Google, then go out and meet them all, video taping the encounters and making an Oscar-winning documentary about personal identity in the information age.
  27. Open up a fast-food franchise that specializes in regular burgers enhanced with vitamin supplements; make an utter killing because people will eat any garbage they think is really good for them.
  28. Repent for #28.
  29. Throw a sweet Toga Party (dry, of course). DON’T have lightning knock out the power for the evening.
  30. Form another band to play periodic gigs for fun, like Dave Barry and Stephen King did.
  31. Record a CD with my band. (Doesn’t have to be for distribution).
  32. Sell artwork/salsa at my own booth at the Salt Lake Farmer’s Market.
  33. Learn to speak enough German to walk around screaming random phrases at passers-by.
  34. Go kayaking.
  35. Ride a motorcycle; DON’T kill any rabbits.
  36. Buy a house.
  37. Buy a manservant (even part-time; just so I can have someone to introduce as my manservant).
  38. Win a homemade chili contest.
  39. Learn to ride a horse (WITHOUT falling off).
  40. Arrange to have someone play “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” at my funeral.
  41. Fake my own death so I can see if anyone plays “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” at my funeral.
  42. Have lunch with a favorite author/creative influence (like Gary Larson, Woody Allen, Ray Bradbury, John Cleese).
  43. Get a PhD.
  44. Get interested in some sort of individual sport so I don’t have to rely on open church gyms or getting enough guys together for a Turkey Bowl. (Maybe Tennis, definitely not Golf.)
  45. Buy a car with cash.
  46. Have someone give me a nickname that I might actually think of myself.
  47. Be a cool uncle, to both my real nieces and nephews (still pending), and my auxiliary nieces and nephews (friend’s kids).
  48. Take my wife with me to south Chicago.
  49. Take my dad test driving, actually let him drive (he’s legally blind; may have to wait post-resurrection, or maybe just swing out to the salt flats).
  50. Preserve Americana: go to the Drive-In movies at least twice every summer.
  51. Prevent one of my e-mail addresses from getting spam for at least one year.
  52. Have my grandparents (Dad’s side) present for my sealing.
  53. Improve scripture study habits; avoid “fortune-cookie” method of scripture study.
  54. Visit NY with my sister.
  55. Buy the Broadway Centre office tower, demolish it, rebuild the Centre Theatre, take my mom to a private screening of “Return of the Jedi”, just like we did back in 83.
  56. Take a significant other to a mission reunion/bbq with married friends/2nd Stake appreciation dinner/evening ‘o ballroom dancing at the Murray Arts Center.
  57. Donate a kidney to my dad—cure his diabetes (if mine don’t match, descend into seedy black market underworld to find someone who does).
  58. Donate some common sense to (insert annoying public figure here).
  59. Get Katie a spot singing the national anthem at a Jazz game.
  60. Wear same jumpsuit for a year, like Raiders owner Al Davis.