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Friday, October 12, 2012

One Weird Trick for Making Lists

List-Makers Hate This Man
for His Unspeakable Tricks
It seems you can't get anywhere in business these days without the all-important skill of making a list and putting it on the internet.  Inventing the next hot social media website, raiding companies, and squirreling away dough in the Caimans is all well and good, but making lists and sticking them up on the internet is the key to the whole thing.  For those of you who want to make a list of your own - and who doesn't? - here is a list of tips for making lists.

1. Come up with a catchy title for your list.  A drab, hum-drum, run-of-the-mill title tells the prospective reader, "Ho-hum, this list probably isn't very interesting anyway since the writer couldn't bother to come up with a better title."  A hot title says, "Zim!  Zam!  If the rest of the list is as good as the title, you can't go wrong, Charlie!"  Good titles include the phrase "hate him," or "hate her" as in Language Professors Hate Him! or Plastic Surgeons Hate Her!  Be careful, though, this phrase is meant to imply professional jealousy, not general dislike.  A phrase like His Next-Door Neighbors Hate Him is likely to drive off more readers than it attracts.  Another good phrase in a title is "Weird Trick."  Weird Trick to Get to Sleep at Night, Weird Trick to Lose Weight, etc.  The word "weird" suggests that this trick is unheard-of and yet so devilishly simple it will boggle the mind, and by its very weirdness will make for fascinating reading even if it doesn't actually work.  Unfortunately many of these weird tricks turn out to be duds like, "Try turning out the light when you go to bed," and "eat less," so the word "weird" may be losing its cachet.  I suggest words such as bizarre, unearthly, unspeakable.  Also, anything mentioning boosting testosterone seems to work.  A good title might be, "Testosterone Docs Hate this Man for His Bizarre Tricks."

2. Have pictures of naked torsos.  Women's breasts are another sure-fire.  Oddly, the women and the breasts in question don't have to be that attractive.  I cannot explain why this is, but there's not point fighting a trend.

3. If possible, the words of your list should spell out something which itself is a conceptual framework for the list.  For example, a list helping funeral directors deal with the public, might run something like this.
Engage in conversation.
Make an effort!
Be courteous.
Act sincere.
Look directly in the eye.
Make an effort!  (We've already said this one, but it bears repeating.)

4. Figure out how many things will be in your list.  I cannot tell you how important this is, and how many perfectly good lists I've seen botched because the list-making neglecting planning this crucial aspect.  Making a list and sticking it up on the internet isn't like jotting down stuff for the grocery store.  You can't just go back and add "bananas" if you discover you forgot them.  This is a science and takes planning and forethought if you want to get it right.  Obviously a list of just one item is pretty stupid, but a list of 323 items can be just as bad, although for very different reasons.  The busy internet browser is taking time out from searching for porn research and playing computer solitaire networking with associates to read your list.  If a list is too short, readers will wonder if Chiropodists really do hate you, or if that was just an idle boast, and feel the only weird trick up your sleeve was the one you played on your reader, wasting his time as you did.  On the other hand, the internet has so expanded human intellectual capabilities and attention-span, that many people are unwilling or unable to count past five, so the list should not be too long either.  In fact, five, experts inform us (and by "experts inform us," I mean I just made this up) is the ideal number for a list.  If you have more than five items on your list, remove the last one, even if it's "Secure the windlass to the tourniquet by tying it to one or both ends of the victim's arm or leg."  If you have only four, come up with one more even if you have to make the last one just bananas.

5.  Bananas.

1 comment:

  1. i saw weird trick to improve testosterone so googled "weird trick weird trick" with the quotes ( you know) and found your article. excellent advice. where do you your ideas?