By Tim Hayes

It’s no secret that people like lists.  David Letterman has been making a living off of his Top Ten list for 30 years.  Speechwriters know that if a presentation has a lively list, people can remember the information more accurately and for longer stretches of time.

But some lists are just ridiculous.  Like Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World,” which came out a few days ago.

Some names you would assume to be on such a list, like Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Hillary Clinton, and others.  They would be conspicuous by their absence, so of course they’re part of the collection.

Then Time gets into some screwy logic, with people such as basketball professional Jeremy Lin, “Today” show host Matt Lauer, NFL backup quarterback Tim Tebow, and the pick of this particularly pathetic litter, Pippa Middleton, the sister of Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge and wife of Prince William of Great Britain.

Kate made the list, too.  At least she’s royalty.  But Pippa?  Pippa?!  A woman whose major contributions to the culture so far have been wearing a tight white dress that showed off her pert rear-end at the Royal Wedding, and waving a toy gun at the paparazzi recently?  Pippa?  I ask you, honestly, what kind of stuff they smokin’ at Time magazine these days?

I know that whenever I’m up against an ethical and moral conundrum, where none of my available options seems to offer a clear resolution, and I’m looking for a guiding light to influence me in a positive and inspirational way, the core question burning in my mind and heart is always:

What Would Pippa Do?

Check eBay.  Somebody, somewhere must be selling rubber bracelets with WWPD on them.  They just gotta.

Other head-scratchers on this “Most Influential” list include such luminaries as Kristen Wiig, who plays a smorgasbord of oddball characters on “Saturday Night Live,” marginally talented but astronomically (and profitably) hormonal “singer” Rihanna, and that muscle of missiles, North Korea’s young dictator-in-training, Kim Jong Un.

Yes, can’t you feel the influence these titans exude over all of us, the great unwashed and uneducated masses out here?  Yeah, right.  Other than Obama and Romney, simply because they both will be inescapable for the next seven months, I can’t think of a single person on this laughable list who I would even let cross my mind, much less influence anything I would ever do.

Here’s a better list of the most influential people any of us should recognize.  Your parents and siblings.  Your closest friends.  Your pastor, rabbi, or spiritual leader.  God, Christ, Yahweh, Allah, or the supreme being you worship.  Those teachers who made a significant difference in your life through their talent, patience, encouragement, and belief in you.  Coaches, scout leaders, youth group volunteers, members of your local school board and local government, firefighters and police officers and emergency personnel.  Nurses and physicians.  Custodians, housekeeping staff, waiters and waitresses.  Mail carriers and newspaper deliverers.  The list could go on and on.

The most influential people in the world are the ones who guide your heart, who make you appreciate their sacrifice on your behalf, who inspire you to do the same for others.  Not some Korean megalomaniac or early-morning TV news reader or MTV video vamp.  And especially not Pippa.


Copyright 2012 Tim Hayes Consulting