Is there any more fragile anniversary for an annual event than number five? In the second year you've proved you can pull it off again. Three and four, you're building your brand. Then five hits. It's like number one all over again. Every five from now on, you'll be celebrating one of the big ones. But this is the first step on that ladder. You've got to get over this hurdle and into your next half decade, or nobody will take you seriously. You'll just be another of the failed traditions that never got traction for the long term.
And that's where the Archies stand. This is the fifth year of listmaking. It's the only list that can be whatever you want it to be -- you choose the criteria, the length, the items, the significance. The Archies are difficult to describe, but easy to master.
Each year the Archies have attracted more and more participants. The number's still in the single digits, but growing. With each step beyond my personal circle of friends, the Archies become more of an institution.
But here we are in year five, on day five, and nobody's made an Archies list yet but me. Now I know that some of you have them in the works. Maybe a few of you are finding it hard to start -- or finish -- based on the stress of the moment or of the past year.
Others of you don't think you're going to make an Archies list this year. Either because you never have, or because you're just not up for it at the moment, or because you don't think it's for you.
I hope you will. The Archies needs you. Last year it was on the cusp of becoming something real, something we do every year, something we urge our friends to do, something that orders and makes sense of our lives, something we look back on every year with smiles of recognition. This year, it could all dwindle away.
Fifth year -- much like the first year. Will the Archies thrive, or stumble? If you're sitting on a partial list, or even a head full of ideas that you could let out if a friend depended on it, let me urge you to step up to the plate. Traditionally you have until the end of January. But traditionally there would be some nibbles by now. I hope you'll play along.