10 reasons why I don’t like numbered lists

There are so many blessed lists to read every day on the Internet, on anything and everything you can possibly think of. It’s all so confusing and intimidating. Do I really, really need to eat those 7 foods every day to live past next year? I was so ashamed to learn that I only implemented 4 of the 27 ESSENTIAL child safety measures in my home while my kids were babies. Jesse and Nick are ruined. Why did that hiker magazine publish a list of the 14 most secret and amazing backcountry sites that no one knows about? Am I allowed to use the list? It’s so wrong. I know I’m missing something.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about myself over the past 47 years, it’s that I’m a joiner, and not like a power tool but like a lemming, a very low skill lemming. Accordingly, here is my list of 10 reasons why I don’t like numbered lists:

1. There appears to be no rule for how long lists are allowed to be. They should always be nice simple numbers, preferably on a metric scale and thus divisible by 5 or 10. Why would anyone publish a help list of, say, 17 items? It makes no sense to me to use any prime number of two digits or more. Why isn’t there some kind of list protocol equivalent to OSI or whatever those internet protocols are called? We could call it the LIP, list interface protocol.

2. I usually feel like lists are longer than they ought to be, like there’s filler or duplication. I don’t know why someone would add filler to get to a list of 14 items, when you can leave out the crap and do 10.

3. I don’t have the attention span to read most lists all the way. I usually drop out by 6 or 7. It makes me feel like I have ADHD, or list depression.

4. This is a filler item to make my list longer, because I’m running out of ideas.

5. I feel like lots of lists are written by needy people, which annoys me and makes me grumpy. It’s basically the author saying, I have so much advice for you! I am full of amazing insight and ideas! Look at me look at me! I made a list because I’m too lazy to write a whole piece about each item and also I might lose your attention before you realize how awesome I am! (Except for this list of mine, which is different because I’m not needy.)

6. My experience is that many lists are snarky in a way that implicates me. I don’t need to be told that I’m part of a large cohort of dorks. I already know that. Stop wasting my time.

7. List sharing makes me feel so left out. I’ve never really fit in, and now everyone’s into lists and I just don’t really get it. Everyone’s so cool and I’m such a dork and a loser. God, I’m lonely.

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