Everyone’s favorite perky morning show is preparing to run a May series on fifty things to do before you die, and they’re asking web-surfing mortals to rank the choices, which range from “write a poem for someone you love” to “drive a NASCAR race car.”

I’m not crazy about this panic-stricken approach to wringing every pre-approved, glorious moment out of life. But I was curious to see how many of the items would get people snout-to-snout with the outdoors. The answer is 15. And what does pop culture want us to want to do?Well: watch whales migrate; go whitewater rafting; see wild game on an African safari; dive the Great Barrier Reef; travel the Nile in Egypt; swim with the dolphins; helicopter over a Hawaiian volcano; feed sharks; ride a mule down the Grand Canyon; gaze upon a magnificent waterfall; walk the Inca trail at Machu Picchu; explore the Alaskan wilderness; dive in a submarine; scale a famous peak; explore a rainforest.

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I especially like how some of them are so specific (oh! the Nile in Egypt), and then you get “gaze upon a magnificent waterfall.” And why, in such a brief list, do whales, dolphins, and sharks each get their own item? Do they really hold that much sway over our collective imagination?

OK, I know I’m thinking too hard about a stupid TV stunt, and I’m going to stop now. But secretly, I might waste time today thinking about what I’d put on the list instead … and you?

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