I'm going up to visit my brother in central New Hampshire this weekend. I know what you're thinking. Fall foliage, crisp clean air, a chance to see my beautiful sister-in-law and niece?
It's not like that. Oh the leaves will be dropping, but it's the falling celebrities I'm interested in.
Yes, I am in a dead pool. We predict which famous people will die in the coming year. We call it The Ghoul Pool
Oh, please. Spare me your feigned reaction. Cuz I know you're thinking "Who's got Nancy Reagan?" And, yes, Harry Morgan is still alive.
See - you're intrigued.
How does it work? It's pretty simple.
It's a draft, like a sports draft. We have about 15 or 18 people participate... (The world is full of sick bastards like me!) We pick one person at a time for 75 rounds. Yes, 75 rounds. That's a lot of (potential) corpses. This way no two people can have Abe Vigoda. Not that any two people have ever "had" Abe Vigoda while he was alive.
I mean, really, he was rumored dead in 1982. That was .... carry the one... 26 years ago!!!
Scoring is simple. A person in their 90s scores you 10 points, in their 80s fetches 20 points, all the way down to single digits if you're truly demented will score you a full 100 points. Any person who lives to be 100 no longer nets any points. Kind of a reward for finishing the marathon if you will.
It's not as easy as picking a bunch of 90 year-olds and compiling 10 points at a time. One thing we've learned - old people are freakin' feisty. Remember when Hume Cronyn lost his wife Jessica Tandy? That bugger held on for years. He wouldn't let go. We thought he might date Madonna before passing on, that spry old bastard.
And of course there is Nancy Reagan. She refuses to Just Say Go. The woman holds on for years, breaks her pelvis and waits A WEEK to go to the hospital! Nancy, baby, Ronnie is waiting for you. Or maybe he's found another wife by now.
There are, of course, several different approaches to trying to win, or merely entertain during what we call The Ghoul Pool. They include:
1. Pick fat guys. Louie Anderson, John Candy, Chris Farley are prime examples of celebrities ripe for early doom, and big points. In fact Chris Farley ... moment of silence, God rest his big fat soul... allowed me to win the Ghoul Pool crown late one year by sending me 70 points, like manna from heaven.
2. Slash and burn. Slash. Keith Richards. Kate Moss. Fill in troubled drug-addicted rock star/model/actor. Thank God for Dr. Drew doing celebrity interventions. He's but Garry Busse back on top of the Ghoul Pool prospect list.
3. Be obscure. Find the guy who invented the Monkeys in a Barrell toy. Pick the lesser known Baldwin brother. Hell, find a Baldwin sister! Reveal that the woman who wrote "This Little Light of Mine" is 89 and is heading towards her own little light.
Of course, this can be taken to a non-competitive extremes. Two years ago, I picked 75 midgets and dwarves (there is a difference, dwarves have 'normal' sized heads on little tiny bodies, midgets are just all around small.). Yes, there are 75 Little People to be drafted. But they are funny in name (and voice) only. They die at the same slow pace as their larger counterparts I'm afraid.....sigh.....
Last year, I picked voice actors. All the surviving voices of the Smurfs. The voice of the Furby doll. The voice of Clarisse, that little vamp reindeer that sent all the blood rushing to Rudolphs.....uh, nose. The funny thing about voice actors? The one thing they cannot announce is their own death. So I officially have zero points.
4. Rap Stars. A most popular category. Unfortunately, the mostly New England white people selecting these "stars" usually don't have the 4-1-1 on the hip hop generation. We've just heard of the East Coast/West Coast feud just now. Someone even once mispronounced "Flava Flav." I kid you not. Of course, I did yield the youngest ever Ghoul Pool hit with Tupac (or as we called him when he was shot in the groin, One Pac).
5. Wish picks. Gilbert Gottfried. Donald Trump. W. Kathy Griffin. We pick them cuz it makes us feel better to think of a world without the people we dislike. It almost never yields points, but thinking about a world without Lindsay Lohan just feels so nice.
So we will all head up to North Conway, NH for some Halloween season revelry. Minus the costumes, candy corn, and cheap plastic costumes. We instead will bob for corpses, hand out poisoned apples to unfortunate celebrities, and we will all laugh the annual chuckle when someone picks Boutros Boutros-Ghali.
Ah, I love the smell of embalming fluid in the fall.....