I can't take credit for the idea of Top 20/Bottom 10 lists. No, that honor goes back almost 20 years to my college days when a whole bunch of repressed kids at a religious school got together and decided to publish an underground student newspaper. I felt like such a rebel working on that paper, where the most controversial writing was either about how we didn't like going to church (gasp) or how unfair the Honor Code was. (Curfews? No drinking? No sex? No fair!!).
The kids that worked on that paper were talented, witty and maybe a bit jaded. Let me put it like this - If Alanis Morrisette had gone to my school when she was recording Jagged Little Pill she would have worked on this paper.
The most popular section of the paper was dedicated to the issue's Top 20 Bottom 10 list. To brainstorm the list we'd just get together and shout out what we thought was good and bad. Stuff like U2, the Honor Code, oil spills, Janet Reno, Janet Reno naked, Beavis and Butthead, Loreena Bobbitt, penises, not getting your penis cut off, Michael Jackson, and other very important and world-shattering things. We had a great time with it, and although I'm poking some fun at the paper, it was actually a much needed outlet.
The paper's gone now, but the T20B10 lives on with me and at least one other - Stacey. Go check out some of her lists, they're great!
And in the meantime, make one of your own. It's fun, insightful, slightly therapeutic and positive (yes, you have to come up with twice the number of "Top" things as "Bottom" things.) Save your list and read it in a month or year or so. You'll be amazed at how it'll trigger memories and emotions of the time when you wrote it.