Barry Smith: Great To Do Lists throughout history |

Barry Smith: Great To Do Lists throughout history

Barry Smith

If it isn’t on my To Do List, then it doesn’t get done.

I’m not as bad as I used to be. I mean, I no longer have to write “inhale” and “exhale” on the list, or “blink” or “digest food,” but I’m still pretty seriously dependent on living by the list.

I’m not sure I could explain it. Maybe it’s the need to control my environment in a world that’s out of control. Or perhaps it’s that rush of completion I get from crossing things off. Maybe it’s a hidden cry for pharmaceutical assistance.

Whatever it is, I happen to know that I’m in good company. Lots of famous people, some real life achievers, have also embraced the beauty of the to do list.

Don’t believe me? I don’t care. Read on:

Noah’s To Do List:

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Get hammer




Poop scoop

Bill Gates’ To Do List:

Build empire

Rule world

Play Pac-Man

Jim Morrison’s To Do List:

Get much higher

Watch local weather report re: riding on storm

Try to run

Try to hide

Locate Other Side – break on through

JFK’s To Do List:

Call Marilyn – remind her of my birthday

Look up definition of “Berliner” (why the laughter?)

Ask what I can do for country

Get Dallas Cowboys souvenir T-shirt

Scatman Crouthers’ To Do List:

Skop a dop doo

Skee da lee bip bop

Zob zib-a zobuh

Ohhhhhh yeah

Jimi Hendrix’s To Do List:

Buy lighter fluid, new guitar

Stand next to mountain/chop down with edge of hand

Excuse self

Kiss sky

Timothy Leary’s to Do List:

Tune in

Turn on

Buy eggs, milk

Drop out

Muddy Waters’ To Do List:

Wake up this mornin’

Hoochie coochie … hyphenated? Look up

Janice Joplin’s To Do List:

All kidding aside – call Mercedes dealer

Saddam Hussein’s To Do List:

Grow goatee

Hair colorist – call

Plastic surgery

Buy ranch in Montana

(Next time: Hastily jotted phone messages throughout history.)

Barry Smith’s column runs in The Aspen Times on Mondays. His e-mail address is, and his very own Web page is at