The sudden passing of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman on Sunday created a certain kind of buzz among groups of friends and on the internet. No, it wasn't "did you hear?" or "how tragic!"
It was "did anyone have him?"
Have him in what? A dead pool.
Yes, it's a thing. You can gamble on it. Or you can do it "just because."
It's definitely weird. And a little macabre. I get it. And I have no problem with it.
How do I justify that? I don't know. I can't, really.
And perhaps I'm a hypocrite since I don't think it's appropriate to take selfies at funerals.
I'm not big into celebrity culture. I don't follow any on Twitter. I don't buy celebrity-driven magazines, or go to celebrity-driven web sites. I'm not a fan of movies or television, really (though I do enjoy a little bit of each).
Those people exist, as I do. And then they won't, like I won't, at some point.
Some feel it's bad karma, to wonder about who might be die in a given year. I believe in karma, but there isn't any ill intent on my part. What does that mean? I dunno.
Tomorrow isn't promised to anyone, and I think about my death all the time.
Would I put myself on a dead pool list? No. As far as I know, I don't have a terminal illness, and I don't have addiction that might kill me suddenly. And, if I did, I don't think you can vote for yourself.
Would I be upset if someone did a Milwaukee "celebrity" death pool and put me on it? No. I mean, if I kick in 2014, I'm big points (100 minus your age). You always need one like that if you participate.
It's definitely a strange thing, that a death pool even exists in our culture. I don't know how it started or why. But it's out there.
I don't wish the end on anyone. I don't gain anything out of it. I'm not happy about it, but I'm not sad. I don't know those people, but I feel compassion for those that love them. Death sucks.
A friend of mine died in her 20s. My sister lost friends in their teens. I've lost older people. Some were really old. Some were "too young" in the context of the human lifespan. It's not fun.
We look for something in death, anything and everything. Humor. Knowledge. Understanding. Sympathy. Anger. Sadness. Peace.
Do we find it? And what does a death pool provide us? Not a clue.
2 comments about this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Jim Owczarski
Published Nov. 28, 2014
Sunday afternoon's game between the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots was being touted as a "Super Bowl" preview as soon as last Sunday night, just hours after both teams won their respective games. It may well be that, or not - depending on how these five topics are covered by the green and gold.
Published Nov. 27, 2014
The weather has turned, and winter is upon us. And, the Green Bay Packers are also about to the play four of their remaining five games outdoors in that weather. That may change how the team approaches kicking off, which may lead to more opportunities for big plays with a cold, bounding, live ball.
Published Nov. 26, 2014
This is it, the final week of the fantasy football regular season (if your league does it right). Some of you may be playing out the string, or hoping to throw the playoff bracket into disarray with an upset, or you're trying to get that last needed win to either clinch a spot or secure a preferable seed. This week matters, and we're here to help you win again.
Published Nov. 26, 2014
Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon will likely play the final home game of his career on Saturday, and in doing so he may set several Big Ten rushing records, and in doing so, he may lead the Badgers into a conference championship game. So why does it feel like he's really all that matters, even if the Badgers play in two more games?
Published Nov. 26, 2014
Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun surprised early morning donors to the Hunger Task Force Wednesday by Helfaer Field near Miller Park, and the former MVP said the cryotherapy procedure has his thumb feeling great and fatherhood has provided exciting moments on a daily basis.
Published Nov. 25, 2014
Less than a week after a shocking loss to Nebraska-Omaha at home, Marquette University had to squeak out a win against the New Jersey Institute of Technology on Monday night at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. "Growing pains" is not just a phrase for this squad, but a very real process.
Published Nov. 24, 2014
Coming off back-to-back blowouts, the Green Bay Packers received a challenge from the last place Minnesota Vikings Sunday afternoon in Minnesota, and the green and gold muscled up on both sides of the ball for a 24-21 victory.
Published Nov. 21, 2014
Football, it can be argued, is the ultimate team game. An individual can't succeed without the the help of 10 others. But in the case of the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers, is it as simple as saying as he goes, so goes the team? The numbers seem to bear that out.
Published Nov. 20, 2014
Julius Peppers is adding to his Hall of Fame resume in his first year with the Green Bay Packers, taking to a new position and helping lead an improving defense. But he also is a difference-maker in the third phase of the game, and at any moment, his hidden talent can turn the tide of a game.
Published Nov. 19, 2014
Ball sharing is the core of Jason Kidd's offense, and the biggest parts of that, literally, are the team's big men. They help keep the offense moving in the half court with smart passing decisions and finishing around the rim.