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Why We Love Lists.

Everybody loves a good list. Over this past holiday weekend one of the local radio stations played the top 500 songs of all time. There’s also America’s Top 40 with Ryan Seacrest and the VH1 Top 20 countdown. And those are only SOME of the music lists.

David Letterman had his final show last week. He had a Top 10 list every night.

There are websites devoted to lists: top burgers, top beaches, and top scenic highways. Don’t forget grocery lists, honey-do lists, wish lists, bucket lists and the list goes on and on.

Heck, even Santa Claus has list and HE checks it twice.

So, Wedwand was wondering, why do we love lists and especially those countdowns so much?

What better way to answer that question, than with a list.

    The Top 10 reasons why we love lists:

10. Waiting to see if something like a rocket ship blasts off when the countdown hits one.

9. So we can complain about why our favorite was NOT on the list.

8. So we can say, “Wow, my favorite was number one on the list. “

7. It’s an idle way to pass time in a waiting room.

6. Cause they suck you in to the vortex of the list and you can’t stop yourself from reading.

5. Lists also appeal to our general tendency to categorize things since they chunk information into short, distinct components. (1)

4. Without lists, you might forget to bring home the bacon from the grocery store.

3. It’s easier to read a list than the whole book.

2. Lists promise to provide instant knowledge.

And number one …. After this word from our sponsor.

Don’t they always do that and it ticks you off but you know they’re gonna do it cause they always do this teaser thing but you hang in there anyhow and so you wait through 22 minutes of commercials cause you invested this much time in it so you have got to see what WAS the number one song of the 70’s and you’re pretty it has to be Stairway to Heaven, cause well, wasn’t that a defining song of the decade and no I don’t need that drug for my allergies in the ad, but wow, those side effects are amazing and then here comes the number one song but no.

It’s a station ID plugging their new reality summer show that sounds utterly ridiculous but it sure is funny when the guy gets hit and plummets 30 feet into a vat of water and now the number one song must be coming but it’s not because there’s car that can park itself that I need to buy and then another station ID that says threatening weather is imminent, details at 10 but if it’s imminent shouldn’t they tell us immediately and now back to our show ….

Right then, a plane flies over head and you do not hear what the number one song was, but your pretty sure you caught the end of “Sugar Sugar” by the Archies and while in you’re mind you’re singing, “There’s a lady who knows all that glitters is gold” all you hear is “Oh honey honey you are my candy girl and you got me wanting you.” And you say to yourself, “REALLY?”

And the number one reason we love lists:

1. They’re fun to read.

(1) If you are looking for a cerebral reason why we love lists, check out this article from the New Yorker magazine.

(2) If you are wondering about the cover photo that is of course Franz Liszt (19th century Hungarian composer, pianist and conductor) who graciously agreed to pose for a picture this week.