What's with all the listicles lately!? You’ve seen them:
“Ten things to look for in choosing a toilet brush.”
“Thirteen reasons to avoid walking under ladders.”
“Nine ways to help your cat overcome his fear of cucumbers.” *
They are EVERYWHERE on FaceBook, online magazines and in the blogosphere. To me, they sound like the TV infomercials where, after they tell you what a good deal you’re getting, you hear,
“But WAIT! Buy today and you’ll get a list of 20 for the price of 10!”
And listicles is hard to pronounce - I dare you to say it ten times fast. When I say it, even in my head, I can’t help but think of other words that it sounds like. It’s very distracting.
But WAIT. Enough of my complaining. In the spirit of adventure, I’m going to take a crack at a listicle.
So here are four words that listicle conjures in my brain, which distract me from my important work of napping, er Tweeting, um, getting my fourth cup of tea, I mean writing:
- Creamsicles. You know, the ones with the soft vanilla ice cream and orange sherbet swirled together on a cone that gets all drippy and when it runs down your hand you have to lick it off? Oh, sorry. But see what happens? I can’t possibly write when I’m being seduced by that thought. Hopefully by the time the warmer weather brings the ice-cream truck and it’s annoying tinny music down my street, the listicle fad will have melted away.
- Lipsicle. I know this isn’t a word yet, but it makes me think of A Christmas Story where Ralphie’s buddy gets his tongue stuck to the metal flagpole. Y’know - frozen tongue, frozen lips - a “lipsicle.” I should coin that phrase. Alright I claim it. It’s official.
- Icicles. (Hmmm. I’m on a cold-streak I see.) Icicles can be either the fake silver ones you put on Christmas trees and will find in your carpet until the following Halloween, or the real ones that hang like deathsicles off your gutters. Either way, lots to think about.
- Particle. I don’t know the answer to this, but is the actual list part of the listicle called a particle?
- There's another word that I can’t say here. You know what I’m talking about. How distracting is that??
But the main reason I don't like listicles is that my thoughts don’t line up neatly like a bulleted list. It’s partly a characteristic of being an introvert. I think deeply about things and see too many nuances in an issue or an explanation to decide if it fits better under number 3 or number 4. And I live in my head a lot - always imaging other scenarios and possibilities. If you’re an introvert, you get it. If not, I’ll explain it better another time.
So reading a whole article in a list format can be not only distracting but unfulfilling. When I read, I like a story with flow. Now that’s a nice word that conjures up oceans and clouds and yoga (well, not me doing yoga, but someone who actually bends at the waist.) Even the ice cream truck with it’s annoying tinny music can’t distract me when I’m lost in the flow of a good story.
If that doesn’t work for you, I’m sure you can find a good listicle.
* I made these up. In case you couldn't tell.