Sixteen ways to make your sex life sizzle! Thirty moves that drive men crazy! America's top 10 bowling towns! Whatever. In the 21st century...

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DETROIT — Sixteen ways to make your sex life sizzle!

Thirty moves that drive men crazy!

America’s top 10 bowling towns!


In the 21st century, lists are essential to sell magazines and self-help books.

Paul Simon was way ahead of his time when in 1975 he sang about “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover.”

Today, however, that’s not enough. Today you need 15 Key Words with Which to Say Goodbye, 7 Essentials to Pack When You Go, Top 10 Comfort Foods to Leave Behind for your Ex, and 21 Strategies to Find a New Lover by Sundown.

Overwhelmed by information, we don’t want to have to chew anymore. We want everything numbered, listed in small bites.

Many of us make multiple lists in our lives, most having to do with what needs doing or buying.

But lists are cold and simplistic. Lists — well, listen to this:

A publisher called Chronicle Books sent me “Listography Journal: Your Life in Lists,” which, according to creator Lisa Nola, “is designed to help you create your autobiography through list making.” A clever idea, I thought, until I tried to do it.

First assignment: List pets you’ve had and their names. Easy. List your closest friends. Uh oh.

Places I’ve lived, favorite films, past jobs. No problem. But biggest fears? You want me to put those down on paper, for someone to find and read when I’m dead or, worse, when I’m still alive?

The strangest places you’ve had sex? Me?

The people you love the most? This is getting personal!

I regret that I made a few notes in the book (“Frankie, my San Francisco parakeet,” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark”) so that I cannot pass it along as a gift. But, truly, I can’t think of who’d want it.

Bad things you did as a kid. All your past hangouts. Your drunken moments. Even listing the best things about you is intimidating.

No, thanks.

I know three ways to stay sane and content:

Don’t brag.

Don’t beat yourself up.

And don’t try to squeeze into silly lists the churning, challenging, charming life that is yours and yours alone.