Ah, the bucket list; that collection of things we want to experience before we expire. For some folks, that list is comprised of adventures waiting to be had: zip lines and sky dives and ascents and descents and safaris and expeditions. For others, the list is about making amends, spiritual enlightenment, finding peace and quiet. For others still, it’s about the perfect meal, the perfect drink, the perfect vacation.
Because I refuse to come to terms with my own mortality, I haven’t developed much of personal bucket list. If I had, I suspect it would involve some sort of sandwich.
The notion of Missoula having a bucket list is interesting, because it assumes that our diverse citizenry could agree on what should be on the list. As the person lucky enough to serve as this city’s mayor, I can tell you that is a challenge.
Let’s propose for example, that someone were to propose something pretty safe for the list, such as “We’d like to see the perfect rainbow.” Sounds benign, right?
Here’s an excerpt from the transcript of an imaginary public hearing on the question of whether to add “We’d like to see the perfect rainbow” to the Missoula bucket list:
CITIZEN A: I love the idea of seeing the perfect rainbow.
CITIZEN B: I like rainbows as much as anybody, but have we considered safety at all? Let’s say you’re driving, and suddenly you see this perfect rainbow, you’re distracted, you drop your cell phone and crash into the car in front of you, which has stopped for an urban unicorn crossing the street. A unicorn, you say? Yes, because if you think you’re ever going to see the perfect rainbow, you must believe in unicorns, too.
CITIZEN C: I hate unicorns. They eat my marigolds. I know they say unicorns don’t eat marigolds, but that’s a load of hooey. They also eat garden gnomes. By the dozens. Seriously.
CITIZEN D: Those gnomes are made in sweatshops.
CITIZEN E: Why aren’t we making gnomes in America?
CITIZEN F: Our country wouldn’t need gnomes is we all grow our own food and use chickens to guard our gardens against predators, like unicorns and wolves. They run in packs.
CITIZEN G: I like that kid who turns into a wolf in those “Twilight” movies.
CITIZEN H: Did you see “Lincoln”?
CITIZEN A: I’m sorry, but can we get back to the rainbow issue?
CITIZEN E: Hey, don’t try to shove this rainbow thing down our throats!
So, while it’s pretty risky to speculate as to what Missoulians might want on a community bucket list, I’ll take a shot at it: Keep our place clean, keep it safe, keep it beautiful, keep it friendly, keep it fun, keep it prosperous, keep its traditions, keep trying new things, keep it Missoula, Montana, home to a whole bunch of folks who can agree on at least one thing: we love the place