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Mullen, Jim

Jim Mullen

Today is one of the 10 best days of the year to read all the "Ten Best" lists of the year.

"The Ten Best Movies of the Year," "The Ten Best Books of the Year," "The Ten Best TV Shows of the Year," "Top Ten Children's Names of the Year," "The Top Ten Design Trends."

So what if you haven't even heard of six of the movies on the "Ten Best" list? I'm sure they're wonderful. I didn't even see the four movies I had heard of, but I'll be sure to put them on my Netflix list.

The "Ten Best Books of the Year" are a complete mystery. I'm still trying to get through the 10 best books of 1988. And it's hard -- they seem so dated. It's as if they were written 30 years ago.

And who has time to read all those books AND watch the "Ten Best TV Shows of the Year" at the same time? It's just not possible. You have to pick your poison.

But people love to read lists; that's why each year there are more and more of them. If the trend keeps up, a day may come when there will be entire newspapers, magazines and TV shows made up of nothing but "Best of" lists.

"The Top Ten Cities Without Their Own 'CSI' Program" (Coming Soon: "CSI: Chillicothe"), "The Top Ten Things You Must Buy Before Noon Today," "Ten Best Nude Beaches." (As if there's a bad nude beach out there somewhere, if that's your thing.) "Ten Best Ways to Lose Ten Pounds By Monday Afternoon." Why is it so important to lose weight that quickly? If you're getting married, trust me, your spouse-to-be already knows what you look like. And if it doesn't work out, you'll certainly enjoy "The Top Ten Divorce Lawyers of the Year" list.

The "Top Ten Songs" list turned into the "Ten Songs By People I've Never Heard Of" list for me years ago. I used to know every group, every song, every artist. Now I think I'll be listed on "The Ten Most Out-of-Touch People in the World." It's not a good feeling. Neither is reading the "Ten Best TV Shows That Are On After You Go to Bed" list.

The list of lists goes on. "Ten Best Countries You Didn't Visit Last Year," "Ten Countries You Wouldn't Visit If They Paid You," "Top Ten Airlines You Won't Fly to Those Countries," "Top Ten Restaurants That You Can't Afford to Eat At and That Wouldn't Let You In, Anyway," "Top Ten Food Fads of the Year." (Mmmm, mmmm, turducken ramen!)

"Top Ten Diet Fads of the Year," "Ten Best Tax Shelters You Don't Make Enough to Take Advantage Of," "Ten Best Places to Invest That Extra $10 Million." Something tells me that people with an extra $10 million lying around didn't get there by taking advice from Ten Best lists.

Then there's "The Ten Best-Dressed Women of the Year," who are, oddly enough, never on the "Ten Happiest Women of the Year" list. It's almost as if you can be happy without being the best-dressed. Who knew?

This one always puzzled me: "The Ten Sexiest Men Alive." Does that mean that dead men are no longer sexy? Now they tell me! And there is always a "Ten Must-Have Pets" list. If Fido's not on it, he'll just have to go.

One day, I'm sure we'll see "This Year's Top Ten 'Top Ten' Lists." and "The Top Ten Numbers from One to Ten." This year, Seven was the No. 1.

I have my own list: "The Top Ten Things I Want to Do Before I Die." I think if I stopped reading "Ten Best" lists, I might have enough time to do some of them. With my 10 best friends, of course.

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