On October 25, 1992, one of Patty's co-workers, Mike, said, "Roger Miller died." Patty answered, "No way!" Mike replied, "Yes, he did!" Patty and Mike went back and forth: "NO!" "YES!", etc., until Mike finally shouted "DEAD!" Then Tom, who had been listening to their conversation, added "DEAD!". Then Bernie told about his sister who was in a "DEAD POOL" with her friends at a bar in Pittsburgh. They would place bets on WHEN famous people would die. I now know there are internet websites solely devoted to this.
Thus our tradition began, but of course we've never bet! Now, 19 years later, I am never surprised when I answer the phone and hear on the other end, NOT "Hello." but a familiar voice ring out "DEAD!" with the news of another celebrity demise. The timber and volume of the voice is essential in relaying the message!
The membership of our DEAD POOL was limited to a few people (obviously because one needs to keep sickness quarantined!) and although there were no rules, it was inherently understood that one would not trample on tragedies (such as the death this past weekend of the race car driver or the death of Steve Jobs) but one also wants to be the FIRST to tell others of the demise!
Last week Les came into the family room, signaled for me to "mute" the TV and announced, "ROGER WILLIAMS--DEAD!"
Again, there are NO explicit rules in the DEAD POOL, but somehow, a little obscurity adds to the interest! There's always the "I didn't know he/she was STILL alive." aspect to it.
Sadly, none of us in THE DEAD POOL are ashamed or embarrassed (WELL, MAYBE!) by doing this!