One crossed off the backwards bucket list

Like most rational thinkers, I far prefer the Backwards Negative Bucket List (BNBL) to the conventional Future Bucket List (FBL).

Why people place so much store on things they haven't done yet, as opposed to things they wanted to do but failed helplessly in, really defies common sense.

When I run my eye over my BNBL every morning before setting off towards the coffee houses of the city - anything less would render me unable to function socially - I note that I have never met the Pope, have never jammed with the Rolling Stones, have never climbed Mt Everest, and have never had anything better than the worst cellphone while discussing Life in an inner-city cafe.

Yes, it's true, I have never met the Pope, but like most things in life, I have come within one degree of separation of doing so.

My mother-in-law in Christchurch some years ago decided she would have a good chance of meeting him on a papal visit, I think it was at Lancaster Park, maybe QEII, if she fronted up with a wheelchaired Catholic. Sure enough, she was dutifully placed in the front row.

As the Pope drew tantalisingly close, my mother-in-law's ageing wheelchaired, lifelong diehard Catholic said she had to go wees. When they returned, the Pope was gone. True story.

The Rolling Stones?

Again, so close.

Last year, the Stones invited Keith Urban to come and jam with them.

Superstar Urban, American Idol judge, platinum country rock star and hubby of Nicole Kidman, was managed by Barry Coburn when he first went to America.

Coburn is a desperately close personal friend.

He has holidayed with us in Naseby; we have eaten at his house in Nashville.

Two degrees of separation at the very most.

And Everest.

Well, there have been about 8000 ascents of the Nepalese peak so far; they increase every year.

I know an awful lot of people.

That any one of them knows someone who has ascented Everest is statistically highly likely.

You can understand why I feel so close to achieving these mammothly difficult tasks.

But the cellphone one was just too far off, too distant.

No matter whom I sat with in a cafe, when all the cellphones were slapped down on the table, mine was so often the worst phone, I simply stopped slapping it down.

Instead, I would curse loudly with a Homer Simpson ''Doh'' to the forehead and bemoan having left it on the kitchen table.

I have made a personal submission to Dave Cull at the council that all cellphones be left at the door of cafes, bars and restaurants, like cowboys were instructed to leave their guns at the door in the Wild West.

No reply yet.

I am for anything that makes everyone equal.

However, two weeks ago, I cracked.

I bought a phone that is relatively current and relatively expensive.

Not top shelf, but for the first time ever, actually above the floor.

It is called a Samsung S5, and with the arrival in the marketplace of the Samsung S6, my S5 is being hurled out of Samsung's factory windows hundreds of dollars cheaper than before.

In fact, the saving I made on the RRP (Recommended Retail Price - an insanely abused term seen scurrilously often in advertising to hoodwink stupid punters: I fall for it weekly) was greater than the cost of my two previous phones.

Not content with a colossal saving that would sustain an African village for two months, I began inhabiting a conversational world hitherto populated only by liars and thieves.

''Is that the Samsung S6 I see before me?''

I would inquire as it was slapped down triumphantly on the cafe table.

''Yes it is,'' would come the reply.

''The word on the street is that the 5 is the better phone,'' I would retort, watching as fear formed in their eyes. Hell hath no fury like a materialist's unease.

I have no idea how good this phone is.

Possibly a hearth brush is better.

But at least I can now place it on a cafe table.

I have withdrawn my submission to council.

 Roy Colbert is a Dunedin writer.

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