Top Ten Lists

  1. Humans love lists
  2. We love talking about lists
  3. We love debating what belongs and what doesn’t belong on lists 
  4. Lists can be fun to make 
  5. But sometimes, you gotta wonder, what is the point
A few months back, maybe even a year or so ago, I was watching a regular season NBA game and Jeff Van Gundy was announcing. I don’t remember who was playing – it was most likely the Lakers – and some guy got a gutsy rebound. He was real physical about it. Jeff said something to the effect that the player would be on his top ten list of scrappy players. It made me wonder, does Jeff actually keep this list? If he does, what other lists does he have? Or was he simply doing what a commentator does, blow smoke and distract the viewer from reality (which reality is you are watching a meaningless regular season game)? Jeff then continued to talk about why this player deserved to be on this list and then gave a few other names on that list. It struck me rather odd. It was such a random thing. A random list. A silly list. Who gives a crap list.
But lists are everywhere. 
Sports is largely based on arguing about lists – There is a local sports station that has a “List of the day”
David Letterman loved lists 
YouTube is chalk full of Top Ten lists. Start typing in ‘Top Ten…” You’ll have a good time. (Greatest fights, craziest police chases, best catches, funniest Oscar moments – Oscar from “The Office” that is, etc., etc.)
Entire domains are dedicated to lists 
Hitmen have lists…
I’m told there are grocery lists
There is a significant amount of resources put to compiling lists of: who the best employer is, what city is the best, where is the best place to vacation, what rich people do everyday, what poor people do everyday, how to be happy, blah ba blah…. goes on and on and on
Here is my point and my top ten list on lists:
  1. Most lists are purely subjective, there may be some metrics giving substantiation, some research methods done, to why something is on the list, but there are biases. So take them with a grain of salt. Does it matter that Bill Simmons doesn’t have xyz player in his top ten greatest basketball players of all time, but does have abc player? The answer is an astounding NO.
  2. They are meaningless. What impact does it have on you to know what the top ten places to vacation are in 2016? Are you really going to make a decision based on that list? More than likely you will ask someone you know about it.
    Hey, Paul did you enjoy your trip to Hawaii? I saw on Yahoo that the best place to vacation this summer is St. Louis. What do you think? 
  3. There are some universally accepted truths that don’t need to put on a list. People are just trying to create conversation and I can’t blame them – its hard to come up with new content – just look at all the movie companies recycling comic books
  4. You get out of them what you put into them. It wouldn’t hurt to read about how they came up with the list if you were so inclined — or not do it either =]
  5. There is some value. People are generally curious and could learn something from them. This is an extension of item number 4…
  6. Why does it have to be Top Ten? Must we always stretch to make it to ten? You said, “YOU MUST HAVE A NICE EVEN NUMBER!!!!” Probably some jerk at the Annual “Forming and Protecting Lists: A Lifetime of Service” 
  7. You will gloss over one of the things on the list. Its a placeholder and means nothing to you. It filler. Should John Adams be on the top ten Presidents list? It’s likely, but you didn’t pay attention in your American History class and didn’t know there was a President not named: Obama, Washington, Lincoln, Clinton, or Bush. 
  8. Alternatively, there will be something on a list that gets you so fired up you will have to bring it up at your book reading.
    I saw on the world wide web that Golden Retrievers were ranked number seven on the “Most Family Friendly Dogs”?! That’s outrageous. If that was on a list I would be fired up to. 
  9. If you are actually still paying attention to this list, I am amazed. Ultimately, you look to list to see if your preconceived notions were correct. You scan the list for the items/people/places/things/nouns/adjectives/articles you think belong. Sorry if you don’t see anything that you though should be on here. It probably makes you mad and you will lose all respect for me and I now have no credibility. 
  10. Like a bee to honey, you will read lists. You will click on the links. You will scan them. You will debate internally over the contents of the list. Accept the fact that you are a consumer of lists.

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