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Lynn Hummel: It’s all about you ­— selfies and bucket lists

I recently learned what “selfies” are. They’re photos of yourself taken by yourself at arm’s length on your cell phone so you can send them to your friends on Facebook, Twitter or however else you send a picture to show off how cute, clever or goofy you can be. It’s all about you.

Somewhat on the same subject is the “bucket list.” A bucket list is a list of things you’d like to do before you kick the bucket. If you don’t know what kick the bucket means, you can stop reading right now and return to the tree you’ve been sleeping under since you fell of your tricycle.

A few years ago, Jack Nickelson and Morgan Freeman starred in a terrific movie, “Bucket List,” about two terminally ill strangers who meet in a cancer ward. One was a millionaire and one was a mechanic. They talked about the unfinished business in their lives and escaped to finish some of it. The millionaire said he would bankroll their joint adventures.

The two sick old men put together lists that included skydiving, driving a Shelby Mustang, flying over the North Pole, eating at a famous French restaurant, visiting the Taj Mahal in India, riding motorcycles on the Great Wall of China, going on a lion safari in Africa, seeing the pyramids of Egypt and visiting the base of Mt. Everest in Nepal.

They did many of these sometimes scary and sometimes far-out dreams in a most amusing and entertaining romp around the world, but for each of them, something was missing. What they had was a list of “selfies.”

It turned out that each had unresolved family issues. The millionaire, with four ex-wives, had an estranged daughter who had disowned him, and the mechanic was separated from his wife and children. They had items on their personal lists like “reconcile” “help a complete stranger” and “witness something majestic” that had never happened. Since I highly recommend you see the film (do they still call movies “films”?), I won’t tell you anymore than I have, except that maybe we should all give some consideration to our unfinished business.

We’ve all given passing thought to the wonderful things we’d do with our prize money if we won the lottery. The longer part of the list is likely to be the “selfies” like visiting the Taj Mahal in India or the Great Wall of China, owning and driving a Maserati, or building a fabulous retirement mansion on an ocean beach in Hawaii. A shorter part of the list might be a list of handouts to friends and relatives, and finally, at the shortest end, contributions to church, schools, cancer and heart research, homeless shelters and food for the poor and hungry at home and around the globe.

But writing checks out of a lottery account is a dreamer’s fantasy — a joke. You’re not going to win the lottery and neither am I. Without a lottery, we’re not going to be as wonderful as we imagine we could — possibly — be.

So, back to the actual bucket list. When do we outgrow imaginary pleasures and sending pictures of ourselves? The smallest items in the bucket will probably be the ones we are most proud of.