Recently, one of my cousins asked how many books I had read in my lifetime. According to GoodReads, it’s a little north of 1300 as of right now. Now, not every book I’ve ever read is listed on there (most of my childhood books never made it in there and I was a prolific picture book reader as a kid) so I guessed 1500 for him. He came back that he was surprised it was so low. And I admit, I had the same thought. 35 years (as of next week) and I only had 1500 books under my belt?! I mean, that’s an average of 42 books a year which isn’t shabby but still, I felt like my bookworm credentials were in danger. We discussed that that probably didn’t include textbooks and school books and other readings I’d done along the way so he bumped me up a lot higher that is probably right and moved on. I never even asked why he wanted to know!
Then, over the weekend, I went full-on librarian nerd and made a listing of all my Musical/Play/ Dance souvenir programs which led me to make a list of every show I have any kind of program for (which meant digging into my memory boxes so….that escalated quickly). I was disappointed to find only 56. Though this made more sense. These shows tend to be a bit pricy (especially for me – I want to be as close as possible and those seats cost) so this number is impressive but still. So many I’ve missed. I mean, I’ve apparently seen The Phantom of the Opera 4 times (I remember 3) and The Lion King 3 times (I really only remember 2 so…that was a surprise) but have missed so many shows I wanted to see. I was also really upset to find that somewhere along the way I lost the Playbill from my first Broadway show (Guys and Dolls, 1992) and apparently never had any programs from the Rockette shows I know I went to at Christmas in NYC.
So, do the numbers matter? Of course, the answer is no. In fact, the number of books is sort of obscene in some ways. I fully admit that I don’t remember them all and curse myself now for not keeping better reviews for the books I’ve read so I could look back and be like, “Right…you’re that one.” I am bummed by the show number though. I adore going to musicals; the talent and dance and stories thrill me as much today as they did that awestruck 7 year old watching Nathan Lane play his namesake role from up in the rafters of a New York theatre.
I am lucky to live where there is a lively theatre community and a world renown theatre program and I’ve gotten picky about my shows in my old age (why would I go if I know it’s not music I like?) but maybe then I have only myself to blame for that number. But, I still haven’t quite forgiven Tallahassee for never building that Performing Arts Center they were supposed to so the city could get touring company productions to visit. That said, my annual birthday Broadway Bash is soon; FSU Theatre School is putting on In The Heights so another one gets added to the list soon. 57 here I come!
Update: I realize now I am missing shows I saw at my local high school growing up (because apparently those programs have also been lost to time). That was how I discovered tapping is insane and I want to do that (thanks Crazy for You!) and male duets are swoonworthy (thanks Secret Garden!). I also didn’t list shows I was actually in because…that seemed like cheating.