The editors of Popular Mechanics must have encountered one of those shaggy-faced prophets of doom often seen carrying “The End is Near” signs in cartoons because the May issue focuses on “64 Things to Do Before the World Ends.” Maybe they expect failsafe to fail miserably or gradual climate change to turn into apocalypse now.
The article “Get the Russians Out of Our Rockets!” seems to be intended to not only get readers to seize the day but also to grab the next missile to Mars. Four pages on how to mix cocktails apparently are designed for those who wish to render their own personal oblivion.
It isn’t until page 82 that the “To Do” list actually begins. Once there, the editors admit the fear gambit was a sham: “Okay, the world probably isn’t ending.” Rather than crossing the “worthy activities and experiences” off my list, I pose some pursuits more attainable and definitely less expensive.
To catch a marlin from a kayak is fishful thinking. To catch 40 winks in a hammock is devoutly to be wished.
Using strangers for directions is likely to get one mugged or really lost. Asking neighbors for confections will almost certainly net good results, especially in late October.
Stopping at a creek and swimming can be unhealthy in scummy waters and virtually impossible in shallow brooks. Instead, stop by woods on a snowy evening and give some harness bells a shake, rattle, and roll.
Rather than mush a pack of Alaskan huskies, tear open some mush and husk a few ears of corn.
“Shave your head” is likely to lead to embarrassing comments from friends. “Cut your losses” is the prudent course of action.
To follow “Plant a tree” with “Chop down a tree” seems like an exercise in negation. Better advice: Get surly and bark up a wrong tree.
“Quarter-mile your Camry” is something I accomplished long ago. My 2001 Camry has logged more than 143,000 miles which could be viewed as over 572,000 times I have quarter-miled that car.
Taking a ferry in the Sacramento Delta or waking up at dawn to jog down to the beach to watch surfers are both out. A more achievable goal is to grind some grain, pour a sack of it over Miss Wells of Gillian fame in an inlet and ask, “Delta Dawn, what’s that flour you have on?”
Before I would watch every Planet of the Apes movie in order, I would invite Major “King” King to drop in from the sky yelling “Waaa Hooo!”
No to “Drink a craft beer.” Yes to “Develop a nasty leer.”
Only a deranged person would roll naked in the snow under the Northern Lights. Roll with the changes of sheets only if a comforter goes along with it.
“Enter a desert race” is for the dune buggy crowd. Much better to enter a dessert place and leave blueberry proud.
Parking at the end of a runway to watch the planes take off and land is really passive. Not so after building a featherweight glider out of balsa wood and watching it soar, loop, dive, and zoom.
The list goes on and sometimes drifts into the zany. “Take apart something you don’t know how to fix” is sure to end up with a call to a repair person. “Shoot pumpkins with arrows” and “Get a pedicure” sound like scenes from a Marx Brothers movie. And yes, “Write a screenplay” also makes the list.
“Walk a long way” does make sense. Anyone seeing this issue of Popular Mechanics at a newsstand should do just that.