I’ve flown a lot of things over the years and every one of them that I threw into the sky had some sort of checklist. Preparing to fall in the “up” direction, even if you’ve done it a zillion times and flown thousands of hours, has a certain level of stress and fun and excitement associated with it and you want to make sure that everything gets done. A single-engine Cessna, for example, has checklists that cover nearly every situation you’ll encounter (including some emergencies). Mighty handy.

The first few items of the “takeoff” checklist are pretty dang basic (and important):

  • Cabin Doors –- LATCHED (if the passengers fall out they tend to get angry)
  • Flight Controls -– FREE & CORRECT (being able to steer is good)
  • Fuel Shutoff Valve –- ON (not having any gas makes the passengers angry too, but it’s nice and quiet not having that irritating sound of the engine and the propeller)

It goes on from there but you get the idea. The perfect checklist covers everything that needs doing without going into painful and distracting detail. All the things you need to know and nothing more.

As concert time approaches a checklist falls into place as well and it never hurts to actually write things down. As the stress and fun and excitement associated with it start to slide into your brain it might not be a bad idea. (My father has a checklist for packing to come to Hawaii, he hates to forget stuff. He wrote it in 1999 and still uses the same piece of paper!). Everyone has one in their head (there’s lots of open space in mine for one to fit) but does it really have everything on it? Are you really going to remember everything and not have something pop up a the last minute that causes you to smack yourself in the head?

There’s an excellent chance that the concert isn’t the only thing going on that day so things could also get lost in the shuffle of it all and disrupt the flow of things that lead up to the singing thing. You’ll find them eventually and it will all end up where it belongs but you take a real chance at doing the one thing that you REALLY don’t want to do…

…be LATE.

Thou shalt not be late.

So make a checklist, it can’t hurt and  it will most definitely help. I’ve mentioned a few of these things in other blog entries but not all of them and certainly not in this context. A sample checklist might look like this:

  • Shirt and pants pressed (or dress or kilt or clown suit or whatever)
  • Shoes shined (or moccasins or body surfing fins or clown shoes or whatever)
  • Correct color socks clean and available (wearing dirty socks will make you sing flat…seriously…it will)
  • Music in order in your folder and attached to either the rings or the little stretchy things (there are two kinds of people who leave their music loose in their folder: those who have dropped their music in the middle of a concert and those who will)
  • Bottle of water at the ready (I keep mine in the fridge so it’s chilled…)

There’s also the RIFT list (as in “Rats, I Forgot To”) that’s unique to each of us but still sucks up time (refer to “thou shalt not be late” above). Stuff like:

  • Feed the cat so it won’t destroy the house in protest
  • Roll the recycle bin out to the curb
  • Velcro your children to the wall so they won’t get into any mischief while you’re gone
  • Run around the house closing all 20 windows that you opened when you got home because it was so hot

You get the idea.

A final note: as you get older writing things down gets more and more important. Your brain can skip a beat you know, like walking into a room and stopping and thinking, “Why did I come in here?”

(Completely unrelated but I just had to share this. I mentioned the piles of spam the blog gets and some of the silliness within, but THIS is the winner. The spammer had manually registered to post, added a spam website that advertised the ability to hack games and then posted this:

“Hello, i read your blog from time to time and i own a similar one and i was just wondering if you get a lot of spam comments? If so how do you protect against it, any plugin or anything you can suggest? I get so much lately it’s driving me mad so any assistance is very much appreciated.”

In the words of Larry the Cable guy, I don’t care who you are…that’s funny.)