Welcome to Top 5 Fun Friday, a regularly-occurring blog feature where I give you a list of extremely specific pointless shit from my life no one asked for. Why? Because it’s now 2022 and I still find myself BEGGING the internet for fun little diversions to read, so I have to create some of this shit myself. This week’s list…
My Top 5 Top 5 Fun Friday Lists That Just Don’t Work
This is the 47th entry into Top 5 Fun Friday, a number, depending on my mood, I find to be either incredibly high or absolute piddly shit. The previous 46 entries indicate I have catalogued 230 things into a hierarchy and/or classification as “my favorite shit.” As it’s written in the boilerplate intro that precedes each list, these items, while terrific in my own personal canon, are indeed extremely pointless to pretty much anyone else in the context in which I present them.
I have three goals with these lists: 1) To entertain you because, as Roger Ebert once wrote about movies (and I’m paraphrasing), “Paradoxically, the more personal something is, the more universal it becomes; 2) To entertain myself, because let’s face it, this is truly some naval-gazing tomfoolery I’m pumping out here; and 3) To remember that to be a good writer when someone is paying me for that skill, I need to be able to write for the pure joy of it. And there is very little that’s more fun than writing silly little lists with absolutely no stakes solely for the sake of amusing myself.
I have a running list in my Notes app where I keep ideas for these lists that I consult each week. Increasingly it’s populated by ideas I just can’t make work as full articles. Even I, a writer whose main professional skill is transforming an exceedingly small set of talking points into a mind-boggling number of formats and styles, cannot make everything work.
So, in order to purge this list of these fucking ideas I’ll never make work and so I can delete half-written articles that will never see the light of day, here are the Top 5 Top 5 Fun Friday lists that I cannot form into full length pieces. Yes, this concept is some real through the looking glass bullshit, but it’s my site and I don’t care. Off we go…
Top 5 Most Tense Sporting Event Moments
- Evenly matched tennis match at a Major
- NHL Playoff Overtime
- UFC Championship Fight
- MLB Walk-Off Opportunity
- Early round NCAA Tournament game with bracket or personal implications
Why It Doesn’t Work: I actually got a good chunk of the way through this one and realized the same point I was underlining again and again and again was essentially this: “These moments sure have high stakes, don’t they! Boy do I feel tense when I watch them!” That’s shitty writing. If you’re invested in what you’re watching, sports are inherently tense, and that’s what makes them fun. If they weren’t, then what’s the fucking point?
There wasn’t enough diversity in the points I thought I could make here, and the thing ended up feeling like Groundhog Day, but without Bill Murray or an existential mindfuck of a premise, just grinding repetition. One point from this failed piece I’ll make is that in the case of both Playoff Overtime Hockey and a UFC Championship Fight, invariably if you take your eyes off the screen to check your phone or order a beer or some shit, that’s when the ending comes. It’s uncanny and feels like a giant middle finger from the universe.
Top 5 Quirks of My Orangetheory Fitness Coaches
- Jackie’s pumped-up lateral stride
- Felicia’s voice going to the depths of Hell to call out remaining time
- Logan’s pigeon dance
- Chanty singing along (poorly) through the mic to whatever song is playing
- Mark demonstrating techniques to an empty weight floor
Why It Doesn’t Work: There’s a joke I used to love about Crossfit:
“How can you tell if someone does Crossfit?”
“You don’t. They tell you.”
This joke applies as much to Crossfit as it does to Orangetheory or SoulCycle or Peloton or whatever your favorite cult-like exercise program is, and I didn’t want to become that which I used to mock any further than I already have.
Plus, unless you’re in these particular classes with me and happened to notice these particular behaviors in a way where you actually mentally catalogued them (which would be an exceedingly small portion of you, even for an admittedly pointless milieu such as this one), without video or a frame of reference, you couldn’t possibly give a shit about any of these entries. I will grant seeing them listed up there devoid of any further context renders them mildly amusing and they lend themselves to funny mental imagery, but that’s as far as this list needs to go. You don’t need 2,000 words about people you will likely never meet doing things you will likely never see.
On a personal note – as if this entry really needs to be any more personal – I have shared some of these observations with the people named above, and they also found them amusing. So that’s nice. I awarded myself a butterscotch.
Top 5 Things I Love I Am No Longer Embarrassed About Loving Now That I’m 40
- Weekend morning local TV news
- Taking fiber
- Going to bed early
Why It Doesn’t Work: Well, first of all, there’s only three items, it’s been a goddamn year, and I haven’t been able to think of two more entries to round it out. Second, for as much as I joke about being old now, I simply haven’t ever had much shame about the things I love. That’s the best part of aging in that letting go of that which truly does not matter – e.g. others’ opinions on your personal taste – is liberating. Third, I don’t have a ton of closeted old man tastes I’ve been secretly hiding from everyone. I don’t secretly watch documentaries about the Civil War or listen to talk radio or wear New Balances with Dockers or anything like that. I currently have a quasi-mohawk haircut, am going with my wife to see MakeWar, A Wilhelm Scream and Brendan Kelly from The Lawrence Arms tonight at the Bluebird Theater and my fingernails are painted purple. I’m pretty comfortable being Punk Dad.
That said, I’ve been taking fiber for like 13 years and already wrote about it a decade ago, have young kids that wake up with the fucking sun which makes going to bed at a reasonable hour essential, and just enjoy the slice-of-life pieces weekend morning news traffic in. Particular shout-out to the 9News Prep Rally, an incredibly produced piece of business I look forward to despite not caring one bit about high school sports. I even talked to Susie Wargin about this last year when she was on my show, so it’s not like this was a secret anyway.
Top 5 Old School IPAs I Still Love
- Titan (Great Divide)
- Union Jack (Firestone Walker)
- Odell IPA (Odell’s)
- Sculpin (Ballast Point)
- Superpower (Comrade)
Why It Doesn’t Work: Hey, a beer list exclusively about IPAs! Is it 2013 already?
Look, my moment of craft beer obsession is pretty much over, and my writing about beer is even further past. I still enjoy going to breweries, trying new beer, and most importantly, supporting these beautiful (mostly) bearded weirdos who are trying to make it as locally-based entrepreneurs. But I don’t obsess over this shit the way I used to.
For one thing, there’s simply too much of it to keep up with anymore. I’ve checked in 2,149 unique beers on Untappd, and I haven’t even scratched the surface of what’s out there. There’s a million styles of beer produced by a billion breweries making zillions of beers (all numbers approximate). Similar to the UFC putting on new fights cards roughly every 6 hours, the overwhelming volume of material caused me essentially to check out.
Second, if I want to be not fat I need to limit my beer intake. It’s an irritating fact of life that I resent intensely, but I have a deep vein of vanity running through me and I’m sure I’m certain I’d rather be thin(ish) than indulge my beer habit. Mostly certain. Reasonably certain.
Third, do you really want me to talk about flavor notes and my favorite hops and shit? Didn’t think so.
Top 5 Exceedingly Minor Topics I Want To Ask Famous People About
- Justin Timberlake – Heckling Joe Buck at the 2011 MLB All-Star Game
- Kristen Wiig – The Joe Schmo Show
- George Lopez – Ski Patrol
- Simon Cowell – Wrestlemania: The Album
- Lori Loughlin – Rad
Why It Doesn’t Work: Look, of all the entries on this list, this one breaks my heart not to write in full the most. But I’ve tried too many times to get this one on track, and I just can’t. Remember that SNL sketch where Will Ferrell impersonated James Lipton from Inside the Actors Studio? Pretty much everyone’s favorite performance of that sketch featured Lipton incessantly asking Billy Bob Thornton about his performance in noted turdburger Armageddon annoying Thornton to the point that Thornton ends up kicking the crap out of him and threatening him with death.
The five people I’ve listed above have had fascinating careers and I have such confidence in my chops as an interviewer, that I know I could have outstanding conversations with each and every one of them about their journey and many accomplishments (and in Lori Loughlin’s case – what it’s like to be in jail!). But in my heart of hearts, the thing I want to talk to them about more than anything else is what’s listed next to them.
And, look, I also know that in pretty much every single case (except for Timberlake, who seems like a genuinely cool guy that earnestly likes baseball and beer and is annoyed by Joe Buck like so many of us and would probably be game to dunk on him again), I’d get only cursory answers from them about what are mostly footnotes from long careers. I know that. I’ve done this long enough not to fool myself. I’ve seen footage of the cast of The Big Bang Theory at Comic Con get caught totally flat-footed by the intense science and geek questions from the impossible nerds in attendance there. These people are entertainers, not fans. They do the work and move on.
Like that episode of The Big Bang Theory where Sheldon hassles James Earl Jones about Star Wars only to find out Jones is a massive Star Wars geek like him, some part of my brain has concocted a fantasy where each of the things I’ve listed is the thing each of these people secretly loved the most and they talk with me for 90 minutes about them.
I think it’s unlikely I’ll ever interview any of those five people in any capacity. But if I do, I’m asking about each one of those things and opening the door for the possibility. If I didn’t, I’d never forgive myself.