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15 Things to Leave off Your Bucket List

John Bohlinger gives a list of things you should avoid

Woody Allen once said, “I don’t want to gain immortality through my work, I want to gain immortality by not dying.” Good luck with that Woody, but the rest of us eventually resign ourselves to shuffling off this mortal coil. Like many of you who watched Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman in The Bucket List, I took a bit of ghoulish glee in evaluating my own secret catalog of things I’d like to experience or accomplish before I kick it. My list includes playing with Emmylou Harris, Paul McCartney, and the Black Crowes (preferably on individual gigs, but I would settle for one big, all-star jam), writing a hit song that drunken frat kids will play for all of eternity (e.g. “Sweet Home Alabama,” “Louie Louie,” or “Keep Your Hands to Yourself”), owning a ’50s-era goldtop with original finish (a goal I will only be able to afford if I accomplish the hit song goal), and touring Russia in the spring. Making this list also got me thinking not only of those things I want to experience, but those we would all be wise to avoid. So here it is: the 15 things you can leave off of your bucket list. (Because 10 is too few, and 20 is too hard to come up with.)

1. Sober karaoke.
2. Routing that pre-CBS Tele for two humbuckers.
3. Working on any project that incorporates whales singing.
4. Hair Club for Men. (If it goes, don’t let it take your dignity with it.)
5. Spandex.
6. Smashing guitars. (Seriously, don’t be a jerk—give it to a kid.)
7. Competing in any Battle of the Bands that involves broken pool cues and garbage can lids.
8. A re-run at rehab. (If you can’t kick it after $30k in 30 days, you don’t want to quit.)
9. Keytar.
10. Touring North Dakota via van in January.
11. Owning every model year of anything. (That’s just greedy.)
12. Standing in front of a Fender Twin on 10.
13. Starting that Air Supply tribute band. (An act described as “The sound of eunuchs sobbing.”)
14. Playing from midnight to 4:45 a.m. over the course of a two-week stint at The Loser’s Lounge in Laughlin, Nevada. (Avoid this one at all costs as it was the bleakest gig of my life.)
15. Retiring from playing.

John Bohlinger
John Bohlinger is a Nashville guitar slinger who works primarily in television and has recorded and toured with over 30 major-label artists. His songs and playing can be heard in major motion pictures, on major-label releases, and in literally hundreds of television drops. Visit him at: or