Internet death pools are either the most morbid thing online, or the most human. How many times have you sat around a party or your workplace and opined about what celebrity would die next?
Whenever celebrities and other public figures run afoul of police, booze or drugs, most people openly joke about their impending death. Most of us spent half of 2011 wishing and, well, hoping for Charlie Sheen to croak, same with Lindsay Lohan.
Even a sorta-real Playboy appearance didn't stop the death-bugs from pondering her fate, and even Sheen's relative sobriety still led to people all but writing him off as a dead man. But as of this writing, they are both very much alive, medically.
These death pools, found at Web sites like Stiffs, The DeathList and The Dead Pool, keep track of notable deaths and tally points for the people who have banked on them to occur. Guessing a surprise death, as when Heath Ledger passed in 2008, will gain you more points than predicting the ending of, say, Kim Jong-il. There was even money on the late Amy Winehouse either becoming the world's greatest rehab-gone-right story or an early flame-out.
I scoured the lists of names on some of the biggest death pools to find the most popular names in the running. It's no surprise that most every list featured Westboro Baptist Church's Fred Phelps, more out of spite than anything else. Guys like Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez are more wishful thinking, we presume. Putting poor Etta James is too easy, what with the influential R&B singer in the headlines almost daily due to her declining health.
So, who could die in 2012? Let's let the death pools of the ghastly, crypt-keeping Interwebs tell us their picks. Don't get me wrong, I hope all of these people -- save for a few -- live to be a million years old. But hope didn't keep my family pets -- or older relatives for that matter -- alive either.
We all gonna die one day, y'all.
George H. W. Bush
Zsa Zsa Gabor
Dick Van Dyke
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth
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Jerry Lee Lewis
*God has been trying for years. He may be immortal.
**I think Chuck Berry will live long enough to see all of the Rolling Stones die.