Salty Air

Death To Normalcy On The Woods Hole Drawbridge

Written by Brian Tarcy

WOODS HOLE – Using styrofoam orbs attached with adhesive, they were spelling out, “Death To Normalcy” on the Woods Hole drawbridge. Of course they were.

It was just after sunrise on Friday morning.

Tia Pogue, 17, of Westport, Connecticut and a Woods Hole summer resident, quickly explained something about a scavenger hunt started by television star I’d never heard of from a television show I’d never seen. But none of that mattered.

Tia Pogue and her mother, Jennifer Letitia, spell out "Death To Normalcy" on the Woods Hole drawbridge.

Tia Pogue and her mother, Jennifer Letitia, spell out “Death To Normalcy” on the Woods Hole drawbridge.

This was death to normalcy at 6:30 in the morning on the Woods Hole drawbridge. Which sort of felt normal for Woods Hole.

Helping Pogue helping spell out the anti-normal phrase in a two-minute window that the bridgetender gave them was her mother, Jennifer Letitia, also of Westport and Woods Hole.

Letitia said, “How did I get roped into this? I’m her Mom.”

Pogue is part of what she called “a very competitive team” of 15 competing in the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt The World Has Ever Seen (GISHWHES), in which teams have one week to complete 200 challenges.

The GISHWHES was started by actor Misha Collins, who stars in the TV show, “Supernatural,” said Pogue. The winning team in the challenge wins a trip to Iceland with Collins, she said.

Some teams are very competitive; some are in it more for fun, she said. The competitive teams are hoping to win the trip, she said. That’s why she is putting in this all-hours effort, and even recruiting her mom to help.

"Death to Normalcy" or maybe Death * Noraloy. Notice the falling styrofoam orbs.

“Death to Normalcy” or maybe “Death * Normally”. Notice the falling styrofoam orbs.

“I would never do this again at this level,” said Pogue, who has worked though the night, with her mom, on art projects. Plus she has had to rely on her mom and others for rides to some of the things she has done. Pogue does not yet have a license.

In fact, Pogue is the youngest member of her team. “The oldest person on the team has a kid who is 29,” she said.

There are three main categories, said Pogue. They are random acts of kindness, wacky art projects, and other charitable activities.

The Woods Hole bridge foray was a wacky art project, she said.

While the list of tasks for the Gishwhes is long and complicated, and the prize is exotic, we found the anti-normal ethos to be the most interesting aspect.

And Pogue played it perfectly. Just as the drawbridge raised up to let a sailboat through and really give her wacky art project an extra dimension, Pogue noticed that she misspelled “Normalcy.”

“I left out the ‘M,’” she said. And then she said, “Oh well, it wouldn’t be normal if I had left it in.”

As the bridge went up, some of the orbs lost their adhesive – making it even less normal.


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About the author

Brian Tarcy

Brian Tarcy is co-founder of Cape Cod Wave. He is a longtime journalist who has written for the Boston Globe, Boston magazine, the Cape Cod Times and several other publications. He is the author of "YOU CAN'T SELL RIGHT FIELD; A Cape Cod Novel." He is also the author or co-author of more than a dozen mostly non-fiction books, including books with celebrity athletes Cam Neely, Tom Glavine and Joe Theisman. His previous book was, "ALMOST: 12 Electric Months Chasing A Silicon Valley Dream" with Hap Klopp,who created the iconic brand, The North Face.
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Brian is a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan with a long-running NFL predictions/political satire column connecting weekly world events to the fate of his favorite team, now at

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