The introduction of the concept of a list came at a price. Before that everything that was done was based on memory. Not everyone has a talent of remembering things that no one else remembers. It gets you high marks, and people think that you are a genius; plus it gives you an edge that becomes a defining factor at times. All because you can recall in detail information that was given to you and everyone else; but then there comes a point where things get too numerous to immediately recall information especially when you’re on the move.
Being a good sharp Trooper, my Commander thought it was time that I be promoted and given responsibility. So now I’m what you call a junior Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) who is now responsible for a group of six men, and tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of military equipment.
So we are on the move; the trucks are being loaded up; accountability of equipment, men and time management and be at a certain location at a certain time. It was one of those go,go moments where it is easy to overlook certain things and perhaps take things for granted. Even the last minute check, everything seemed to be in place as far as what is supposed to be there according to memory.
But once in the field, miles away from the base; putting together everything; a piece of equipment that was critical for the mission was forgotten, misplaced, lost. The Commander wasn’t pleased. But being a green new NCO, it was recognized the need to correct the behavior and that this is a learning moment; rather than punishment, the Commander introduced me to the list.
This was the accountability list. This list had every piece of equipment written down that is required for a mission; even the men’s individual equipment. The instruction was if I have a list, I can’t go wrong and whatever I do to make sure that I have the list and check off what is supposed to be there before moving out. Because the next time that a piece of equipment is unaccounted for; it will be coming out my pay check, even if it takes years to pay it back.
After that I got to learn the existence of other lists; the reward list; the shit list, and the fuck list. I guess the title of those lists speak for itself.
Even now as a government bureaucrat, a list is the root of the tasks that we do. A work list is generated that trickles down from the division, to the unit and finally to the individual gov’t bureaucratic worker. The measure of productivity is through shrinking of the work list. I can tell ya, that every bureaucrat knows those lists are endless and if a quarter of it get done, it is a miracle.
Imagine what other type of lists we create for ourselves; the most popular is a “bucket list.” What are the other kinds of lists?