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Making lists


By Jessie

My name is Jessica and I’m a chronic, shameless list-maker. I make lists every single day for all sorts of things: the grocery shopping, the daily ‘to-dos’, work projects, personal projects, movies I want to see, books I want to read, ideas for gifts, ideas for holidays, menu plans, cleaning rosters, goals…  

Unsurprisingly, I am also an avid collector of stationery, and have countless little notebooks in my handbag, in the car, by the phone, on my desk – all with their own special purpose, and all filled with jottings and doodles and cryptic messages. Making Lists

Of course the real joy of a good, long list is in the ritual scratching out of the individual items, one by one. Oh the smug satisfaction and sense of constructive enterprise that comes with knowing you’ve successfully completed all your allocated tasks for the day! And conversely, the black smog of defeat that descends when the day ends before the list does!  (Hmm, reading back over that last paragraph I’m tempted to start a new list: 'How to loosen up and get a LIFE'…)

Anyhow, I was still very excited to stumble across a fantastic blog recently called, which is exactly as implied – an exhaustive collection of historical and contemporary lists from publications and people of influence. The entries encompass the spectrum of humanity; featured are writers, politicians, directors, inventors, criminals, movie stars… and all of them are fascinating.

For instance, before Whitsunday in 1662, a 19 year old Isaac Newton wrote in his notebook a list of 57 sins he had recently committed while he was a student at Trinity College, Cambridge. They included:

  • Eating an apple at Thy house
  • Making a feather while on Thy day
  • Denying that I made it.
  • Making a mousetrap on Thy day  
  • Squirting water on Thy day
  • Making pies on Sunday night
  • Swimming in a kimnel on Thy day
  • Putting a pin in Iohn Keys hat on Thy day to prick him
  • Threatning my father and mother Smith to burne them and the house over them
  • Wishing death and hoping it to some
  • Striking many
  • Having uncleane thoughts words and actions and dreamese
  • Stealing cherry cobs from Eduard Storer
  • Denying that I did so
  • Denying a crossbow to my mother and grandmother though I knew of it
  • Setting my heart on money learning pleasure more than Thee

Historical rules of etiquette always thrill me – and this “Don’ts for Women Riders”, published in the Newark Sunday Advocate on the 21st June 1895 doesn’t disappoint. The paper was compelled to produce this guide after two “women riders” were publically shamed after brazenly wearing short skirts over their bloomers. The rules include:

  • Don't be a fright.
  • Don't faint on the road.
  • Don't wear a man's cap.
  • Don't wear tight garters.
  • Don't boast of your long rides.
  • Don't criticize people's "legs."
  • Don't cultivate a "bicycle face."
  • Don't refuse assistance up a hill.
  • Don't wear clothes that don't fit.
  • Don't race. Leave that to the scorchers.
  • Don't wear laced boots. They are tiresome.
  • Don't imagine everybody is looking at you.
  • Don't go to church in your bicycle costume.
  • Don't wear a garden party hat with bloomers.
  • Don't chew gum. Exercise your jaws in private.
  • Don't wear white kid gloves. Silk is the thing.
  • Don't ask, "What do you think of my bloomers?"
  • Don't use bicycle slang. Leave that to the boys.
  • Don't let your golden hair be hanging down your back.
  • Don't try to ride in your brother's clothes "to see how it feels."
  • Don't scream if you meet a cow. If she sees you first, she will run.

Fabulous – and there are many more!

Historical guidelines dictating the ‘proper’ behaviour of women abound. In the early 1920s, in Washington, D.C, a lady named Alice Reighly founded the Anti-Flirt Club — an organisation "composed of young women and girls who have been embarrassed by men in automobiles and on street corners," and which aimed to protect such women from future embarrassment.

The club issued a list of rules which included:

  • Don't flirt: those who flirt in haste oft repent in leisure.
  • Don't accept rides from flirting motorists—they don't invite you in to save you a walk.
  • Don't use your eyes for ogling—they were made for worthier purposes.
  • Don't go out with men you don't know—they may be married, and you may be in for a hair-pulling match.

Children don't escape the lists either. In 1848, the Stokes County School in North Carolina published a list of possible student offences and their corresponding punishments which included:

  • Boys & Girls Playing Together - 4 lashes
  • Fighting at School - 5 lashes
  • Playing at Cards at School - 10 lashes
  • Climbing for every foot over three feet up a tree - 1 lash
  • Nick Naming Each Other - 4 lashes
  • Fighting Each Other in Time of Books - 2 lashes
  • Going Home With Each Other without Leave of Teacher - 4 lashes
  • For Drinking Spiritous Liquors at School - 8 lashes
  • Making Swings & Swinging on Them - 7 lashes

I highly recommend checking out the website for many other lists of note such as 'The Rules of Wartime Golf', '10 Commandments of  Conmen', 'The Eight Kindes of Drunkennes' and Marilyn Monroe's New Year resolutions.

But what about you? Do you make lists?

Jessie x

24 Responses to

Making lists

sumac said:
January 10, 2013 at 10:28 PM

I also make lists for anything and everything. I think it is because it makes me feel so good when I can cross things off as they are done. Trouble is I never seem to have a completed list as I keep adding to it.

mommyscat said:
January 11, 2013 at 12:00 AM

I admit that I too am a listoholic. For me though the use of lists is more than a practical reminder. I use them to get through the day, otherwise things that should get done get dumped in the I'll do it tomorrow bin. And as we all know tomorrow never comes.

mommyscat said:
January 11, 2013 at 12:00 AM

I admit that I too am a listoholic. For me though the use of lists is more than a practical reminder. I use them to get through the day, otherwise things that should get done get dumped in the I'll do it tomorrow bin. And as we all know tomorrow never comes.

mommyscat said:
January 11, 2013 at 12:00 AM

I admit that I too am a listoholic. For me though the use of lists is more than a practical reminder. I use them to get through the day, otherwise things that should get done get dumped in the I'll do it tomorrow bin. And as we all know tomorrow never comes.

January 11, 2013 at 7:53 AM

Must confess I make lists too and, like sumac, they tend to keep on growing - until I get sick of them and throw them away. Ah, freedom!! Then a few days later a new list starts ... and the cycle begins again. And like Jessie, I've always got my eyes open for another notebook or new pen. Just love stationery collecting. And of course they inevitably get used for another lot of lists. :)

dj1 said:
January 11, 2013 at 10:09 AM

Is YouPlay making a list of mommyscat's comments?

mommyscat said:
January 11, 2013 at 10:22 AM

lol when I made the comment and tried to post it, it delayed for so long, I hit the add comment button again. Still delayed so yes I hit the add button one more time. I then opened another window and continued on with playing my games and when I came back to the first window the comment had been posted three times.

January 11, 2013 at 10:50 AM

hehe jessie i went shopping yesterday had my list in hand and was told to use my memory .had no answer for that

postie57 said:
January 11, 2013 at 11:31 AM

my memory deserts me as soon as I walk into a grocery if I don't have a list I arrive home with none of what I planned on getting and a whole lot of things I hadn't planned...also get great pleasure from seeing a to-do list all scratched off... but there's another one started.

January 11, 2013 at 1:41 PM

I also use lists. Especially for the Christmas dinner and my annual BBQ. The list from one year is used to build the list for the next year, along with notes on what/how to improve the following year. Christmas consists of four lists, one with the menu (changing the entree and dessert each), two shopping lists (one for perishables and one for what I can buy in advance) and the breakdown list on when to do what. So far they haven't let me down. The older I get the more I need my lists.

nan_j said:
January 11, 2013 at 6:08 PM

I have never made a list in my life before now ... but alas the time has come :(

January 11, 2013 at 7:41 PM

I'll make a list if it's for an huge event such as moving house or wedding planning. Then I'll list activities to be completed on each day prior to the event. Otherwise, not so much - unless a mental list is counted.

January 12, 2013 at 8:16 AM

When we were house renovating My husband and I created a list over the desirable jobs big and small. It was on a small whiteboard that we hung in the kitchen. At first it moved well then we had kids and it slowed down. After 14 years we moved house and the board is in my garage with about 3 things remaining.....oh well! When my daughter was born I needed a list each day to sort out priorities and must dos from the other. Generally I don't like such lists as I hated rewriting the "didn't get to it today" items on the new list and found it a frustrating experience. It was essential at the time. The only list I write now is the list of last minute packing that will keep me from sleeping the night before a big trip in case I forget it....If I get up and write it then I can sleep soundly!

tiggercat said:
January 12, 2013 at 9:51 AM

CalypsoBelle - so relieved to hear someone else makes these lists - thought I must have really been losing my memory! The 'what to do - when' list is especially handy at such a busy time of year, and relieves the stress of keeping it all in your head.

January 12, 2013 at 4:06 PM

only make a note of where i park the car , so it , doesnt move on me , have lost car several times and had to tex hubby to say '"PLEASE COME LOST CAR AGAIN "normally not far away , lol

January 12, 2013 at 5:10 PM

Don't be worried Sallyannejane, my 17 year old daughter lost her car in a very large carpark, and she's bright as a button. They have a courtesy buggy at Pacific Fair on the Gold Coast, with a very non-judgemental driver, who will drive you around until you find it. Now, if only he could help her find her keys...

gracie10 said:
January 13, 2013 at 12:03 AM

sallyannejane, that is so funny, during one of my pregnancies (my 4th, so I think I have some excuse) I was continually locking myself out of the car at the shops. I had to keep calling my (ex) husband to bring the spare set of keys. In the end, as soon as I called, he said, you've done it again haven't you. The worst thing I ever forgot at the shops was ... my dog. I walked to the shops, walked home, thinking all the way, I am sure something is missing. When I got home I remembered that I had walked the dog down to the shops with me and had left him tied up to the bike rack. Had to drive back down there in the car to rescue him! I write lists sometimes, and when I do, I sometimes write down things I have already completed, so I can have the pleasure of crossing them off.

January 13, 2013 at 4:28 PM

LOL, gracie10. I did the opposite. My sister and I took the car down to the park to walk the dog on a hot day. Chatted and walked, dog having a wonderful time, then we put her lead on and walked home. Where was the car? Down at the park. My sister and the dog were too tired to go for another walk, so I had to walk to the park by myself to pick up the car. The one thing I dare not lose is my diary. I write everything in there that I have to do on certain days, even putting out the rubbish bins and the day my domestic help comes. Phone calls to make, letters to post, shopping - it's all there. Losing it would be the end of my sanity.

January 13, 2013 at 7:36 PM

hehe ladies like my aunt who rings me to ask what day is it

kragzy said:
January 14, 2013 at 9:50 AM

I think a sexist observation is needed here. All of the people who confess to keeping lists appear to be women. My wife is the same - she keeps lists everywhere. (And she lost her diary last year - panic erupted for a few weeks until it was found - I can relate to the 'end of sanity'!) Being a bloke who thinks he can do no wrong (of course), I don't keep lists. Invariably I forget things and my darling lady gently reminds me that a list or two would be a good idea. But gosh, that would require me admitting she was right! Perish the thought. Are lists a female thing (are there lists on Venus)? I'm sure that there are no lists in Mars.

January 14, 2013 at 11:05 AM

yes men do make lists , my dear hubby does but he looses the list , yes i the boss tidey all things away , so never mind lol

January 15, 2013 at 8:26 PM

My hubby gets me to make shopping lists for him when he is going grocery shopping on his own. Does that count?

January 16, 2013 at 7:55 AM

That's a grey area CalypsoBelle. You are the list maker but he is definitely an accomplice in the list making act by receiving the said list and using it. If you'd like him to be considered a true list maker perhaps you could dictate to him the items and he could write the list himself...

bunbarian said:
February 03, 2013 at 12:12 AM

I make a list once a fortnight to go shopping on Pension Day. I also sit in front of my PC and price everything and note the brands that are least expensive next to the item. I take my list shopping too but only check it once I am home again and all the shopping is put away