The NY Times Sunday Magazine runs “The Meh List,” an approximately two inch by one inch list of stuff that’s neither here nor there, fabulous nor putrid, offensive nor inoffensive—cultural trends that are simply unremarkable. Which makes a person wonder why anyone would then bother remarking. After a couple of years of brow furrowing, I’ve concluded that it was an intern’s idea.
Previously invisible in every one of the dozen editorial meetings she’d made coffee for, the 23-year-old Brown graduate decided one gray morning that this was her day. Raising an impetuous hand, (which immediately itself actually appeared to start blushing, from the tips of its nails to a spot close to the wrist) she miraculously caught the eye-roll of her boss and now—totally, irrevocably on the spot—blurted out an idea: a column, no a list, a tiny tiny list, in fact, a list that is important, well, not that important, in fact, it is deliberately UNIMPORTANT. It’s a list of UNIMPORTANT things, things nobody cares about, you know, like, let’s see, watermelon for dessert (on this week’s list). Her boss asked for more coffee. But then her bosses boss (because that’s how these things go) raised an authoritative palm and said it was perfect, perfect; it could capture the bored, indifferent, cynical zeitgeist of all the post-economic–meltdown Brooklyns across the expanse of zeitgeist-hungry America. And so “The Meh List” was born.
While I can be as bored, indifferent, cynical, and negative as the next person, I am going to start listing stuff that is remarkable, in a good way. Or maybe it will also include bad-way remarkable things. Like that intern’s stammered idea, this one is a work in progress. It doesn’t have a title yet. Suggestions are welcome. But it doesn’t have anything to do with gratitude or bliss, because gratitude should be a given and the word bliss should be outlawed.
1. The long riffle of leaves as a squirrel skims across the treetops.
2. John building shelves in the pantry so we can put boxes of food away and finally get close to being moved back into the house that’s almost done being renovated and in which we will live when we get married next Friday.