Opinion

Climb every mountain? I think not

by
July 14, 2017

Mt Everest features prominently on John Lewis’ kick-bucket list. Picture: Picture: AP/Tashi Sherpa, File

This is the time of life when everyone my age has a bucket list.

However, the other night a friend and I developed an alternative bucket list after a few Gewurtztraminer Spatlese Burgunders.

We called it the kick-bucket list — things we never want to do — ever — before we die.

So here goes:

Number 1: Live in a lifestyle retirement village.

I grew up in an English seaside town where Butlins and Pontins were the holiday destinations for thousands of holidaymakers waiting to be entertained.

The thought of living in a place full of rules and people permanently on holiday who look at their lawns a lot appals me.

I plan to sit on my verandah with a sawn-off birdscarer and a bottle of Spatlese Burgunder shouting ‘‘Get off of my land’’ at passersby.

Number 2: Go on a cruise. As above — the thought of spending a week with 5000 fun-seeking people on a floating four-storey hotel with the threat of gastro circulating gives me the shudders.

Number 3: Go to Disneyworld. Giant princesses and mice with permanent smiles have always terrified me.

I just can’t get past the American diversified multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate label.

Number 4: Travel Australia as a grey nomad with a giant ute and fifth-wheeler combination.

I just couldn’t afford the time queueing to get in a van park and then sit outside on folding chairs drinking Pinot Gris with the neighbours comparing rear axles and solar panels.

Number 5: Climb Mt Everest — or any mountain, track, trail or pilgrim’s way.

Pushing yourself to the limits of endurance sounds horribly gruelling and unnecessary. I get my fix of fitness and spirituality from a walk in the bush with my dogs — and there’s less chance of altitude sickness.

Number 6: Run a marathon or do a triathlon. For the same reasons as above. Intellectual challenges last longer, and probably won’t kill you.

Number 7: Visit every country in the world.

There are some countries that are just not meant to be visited by rich, white, retired tourists. After rubbing shoulders with poverty-stricken villagers happy to dance or be photographed for a few coins, I would return with suitcases packed with guilt.

Number 8: Eat an insect, a snail, a snake, a pig’s head or an eyeball.

We are what we eat and the older I get, the more conservative is my menu.

Number 9: Meet Paul McCartney. I just wouldn’t know what to say.

Besides, I have met enough famous people to know that everyone is essentially ordinary — and I don’t want Paul’s balloon of fabulousness to burst.

Number 10: Attend a high school reunion. Meeting people who were once devastatingly handsome or pretty but who are now bald and fat but hold the same racial and gender prejudices sounds like a nightmare.

Old-school pals also hold terrible secrets about each other that should never be revealed to spouses or the civilian world.

So that’s it — my kick-bucket list.

I have now revealed myself as a miserable, anti-social, unadventurous bore who gets more excitement out of a book than a cruise-ship conversation.

But you knew that anyway.

John Lewis is The News’ chief of staff.

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