The Book of Lists 2, published in 1979, is tacky, exhausting, and I think, mostly made up. I found and stole it from an ex (of course, the book being the best thing about the relationship, other its eventual end). It didn’t have a cover and smelled like Satan’s basement. However, I found that, in one volume, this book encapsulated everything I loved in American literature: lists of quotidian bullshit and wild, wild speculation. No single writer has come close to satisfying my lust for arcane knowledge and bad jokes that stink of the “Life in These United States” section in Reader’s Digest.
A sampling: Is there a list titled “Twelve Art Riots of the 20th Century”? Check. Did a dentist create the official rules for lacrosse? Why, yes he did. Is there a section titled “17 Wonderful Boners*”? You will only know this if you get to page 485. Which you won’t, because no sane person will keep The Book of Lists 2 around long enough to get that far.
Originally, this book probably sold millions of copies, but now it’s a worthless, out-of-date, dog-eared curio left moldering in Goodwill’s across the country. So, the next time you’re donating yet more of Mom-Mom’s Precious Moments figurines (Keep the one with the two kids kissing for Uncle Jack), pick up a copy of The Book of Lists 2. Or get it on Amazon, which would be more tragic, because dozens of people would be involved in packaging and delivering this testament to man’s futility. Its capability to both entertain and bore is magical, almost Dickensian in scope and power.
Next week I’ll write about a sock I found on the highway when I was in high school.
*Not actually about humorous mishaps and accidents, but admirable erections.