I love reading “best of” lists, mainly because they’re wrong. Yep. All of them.
Even the ones that are right.
This is due to one simple factor; the writer fails to take into consideration an important component of compiling such a list in the first place – mainly that they’re an idiot.
This is usually obvious from the headline because there is no objective way to quantify such a list. Take, for example, something like “The Top 10 Rock Guitarists of All Time.”
It usually goes like this: Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Slash, David Gilmour, Ritchie Blackmore, Alex Lifeson and Brian May with little to no mention of AC/DC’s Angus Young, who is superior to all those yahoos simply because he dresses better on stage.
Guitar masters who may get an honorable mention are the likes of Chuck Berry, Joe Satriani, B.B. King, Tony Iommi, Pete Townshend, and the perpetually alive Keith Richards, who all, to some extent, deserve to be amongst the above company. The list writer, usually American, also tends to omit musicians from the rest of the world. A social media acquaintance from Mexico City recently complained all “best of” rock rosters are invalid because these lists only include musicians from either America or Europe.
Angus Young, by the way, is from Australia, so he’s got that going for him, too.
Then take something like the completely mislabeled article, “Top 10 Hot Dog Toppings,” which should be “Top One Hot Dog Topping.” Mustard. Period.
Mustard is No. 1 on most lists because nine out of 10 psychiatrists agree people who put mustard on a hot dog are loyal, God-fearing Americans who hold steady jobs, love their spouse, read to their children at bedtime and never drive over the speed limit. (I didn’t read this anywhere, I just assumed.)
Ketchup is a close second and is a clear indicator of people with sociopathic behavior. If you ever see someone steal tips off a restaurant table or push an old lady in front of a bus, chances are this person eats ketchup on hot dogs.
Oh, sure, there are other toppings, like sauerkraut, onions, relish, cheese, chili, jalapeños and amphetamines, but the worst is mayonnaise. Serial killers enjoy mayonnaise on hot dogs. Worse, politicians are awfully fond of Miracle Whip.
There are lists for “best soda,” “best pick-up lines,” “best color to wear after Labor Day but before National Wiener Schnitzel Day (Sept. 9),” “best book to hold up the short leg of the couch,” and other mind-blowing results that will change your life.
Then why do I read them?
Here are the top 10 reasons I read top 10 lists:
1. I enjoy yelling at inanimate objects like magazines and computer screens.
2. I enjoy pointing out when people are wrong.
3. I like to see if my blood pressure medication is holding up.
4. I’m interested in how many times my wife tells me it’s silly to read such garbage.
10. think. Honestly. We’re just knuckleheads who put words together in a way that sort of sounds like we know what we’re talking about whether we do or not.
Except for the fact that the best rock guitarist is Angus Young. Don’t argue with me.
– Jason’s newest book, “Chasing American Monsters: 251 Creatures, Cryptids, and Hairy Beasts,” is available at jasonoffutt.com.