My life is cluttered, and lists are part of the clutter. Lists reside on tiny pieces of paper that I carry in my pockets, with the left side used more than the right. Lists abound on my desk on sticky Post-its of neon colors. I have even taken lately to drawing up a list at the start of the workday. It's an exhaustive list inventorying all the anticipated tasks of the day: responses to calls, e-mails, queries, comments, asides, requests, deadlines, and stated or implicit demands of disparate pieces of paper on my glass desk, a desk as transparent as my orderly attempts to rein in my rampant disorder. (I am ending this paragraph right here in homage to Lenny Cohen.)
Then I numerically rank each task, perhaps stopping at ten. Then I cross off each completed task.
This list-ordered tasking seems to settle me down and focus my efforts. It works until intrusions of yet other tasks.
Or does it work at all? And will it last?
Lust lost list last.
List lost lust last.
I just love the lilt of those four words.
Et cetera. Inter alia. Age quod agis.
Where was I?
If am without lists, does that make me listless?
Or do the lists themselves make me listless, tricking me into thinking listing equals doing?
In consulting my Oxford English Dictionary, or OED, I am thrilled to find the deep and criss-crossed layers of listing and its variants and associated forms. (Yes, such a finding thrills me, and I make no apologies for it.) The word list offers a rich playground for any list maker.
(But I will be brief. I need to pack for Berlin -- and alas I have for now successfully avoided lapsing into all kinds of blatant Wall metaphors, analogies, and paradigms.)
My OED tells me that list in some associated form or other (to say nothing of Franz Liszt!) refers to:
a hem (as in [ahem!] a silken piece of ooh-la-la! cloth you know where),
part of a head of hair, such as a beard,
a ring around the foot of a column,
a place of combat,
a staked enclosure (plural = the starting point of a race),
lust (you knew it would come to that),
the careening of a ship (such as the ship of state embarking on certain courses of action),
a roll or catalog of words (such as This parade of nouns),
to care for,
to listen (I've barely begun to touch the verb forms)
insert ellipsis points here
This is just for starters. (Does that make it UNjust for finishers? hahahar!)
The list goes on.
But I am getting listless.