Wednesday 21 February 2018

The attraction of a Bucket List

THE other day I was in the local book centre browsing through 'the classics' when I came across a copy of JD Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye.

I started to read the first few pages, but couldn't recall if I had read the book before – I am of an age where something that happened twenty years ago doesn't necessarily spring to my mind.

I texted an old schoolfriend, who was in my Leaving Cert English class, and he informed me that while it was on the reading list for the big exam, he never got around to reading it. I don't think I did either, which might shed a little more clarity on my exam result.

I brought The Catcher in the Rye home with me and ended up doing an all-nighter, not because of duress, but because it is a fine read, even if as one commentator said, I had read it a few years too late.

It also got me thinking about other classics that have passed me by, and I decided to pen a list of great literary works that I want to get through. I have reached the age, you see, of making bucket lists, and my bucket lists these days are very different to the ones I may have devised twenty years ago.

Twelve years ago, I was sitting on an overturned milk crate outside a supermarket in South Korea listening to my fellow ex-patriates make plans to visit the Great Wall of China.

The Great Wall was something I had wanted to see ever since David Copperfield had walked through it when I was lad.

However, for the same cost of flying to see the Wall, I could have had a semi-acoustic bass guitar made in a nearby guitar factory.

The guitar won, and I decided that if I ever had kids I would take them to see the Chinese landmark when I was older. Besides, there is greater pleasure taken from witnessing something wonderful, when there is someone you care about there to share it with.

The latest bucket list I have been putting together is an exclusively Irish one. The following are five things that I have yet to accomplish, and five things that can only be done in Ireland. How many have you got under your belt?

5) Visiting The Giant's Causeway: the famous landmark's prestige originates in the tale of Finn Mac Cumhail, and a Scottish giant called Angus, who threw rocks into the sea in order to get at each other so they could have a good old fashioned scrap to show who was top dog.

It has since become one of the North's top tourist attractions, and one I have yet to visit.

4) Kissing The Blarney Stone: A chunk of rock in County Cork of which it is believed that if you pucker up to it, you will be bestowed with the Gift of Eloquence. I have met many individuals who appear to have kissed the Blarney Stone, yet I never have myself.

3) Touring The Guinness Brewery: I heard at the weekend that Arthur Guinness fathered 21 children. I repeated this fact to the good woman, in awe of Sir Arthur's fertility rate, and suggested that I change my choice of tipple from lager to ale. Strangely, she bolted for the front door.

2) Taking the tour of Croke Park: Privileged are they that have appeared on the playing fields of Croke Park; even more privileged are they that have left as victors.

Most of us will never have the talent or opportunity to get there, but a tour of the GAA HQ and to set foot upon the hallowed turf should be scant consolation.

1) Appearing on Winning Streak: You won't find it in many tourist guides, but ask any Irish person if they would prefer to stand aloft the Cliffs of Moher and yodel, or appear on Winning Streak, and the likelihood is the chance to cosy up to Marty on a Saturday night would win hands down.

Only, most men I know would send the wife or mother or granny, and then offer them five per cent of the winnings. If they're lucky.

Gorey Guardian

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