The other day I played bingo at my local Indian Casino, slogan: “Taking back America one quarter at a time.” I thought it was a stereotype about how many old ladies play bingo, I couldn’t even find a good place to sit, not because there was no room, but because most of them have 50 plus bingo cards plastered across the tables. These are serious hard core bingo ladies, no playing around here. For those who lived on the other side of the moon, bingo is a game where a “Number Announcer” calls off letters and numbers from a ping pong ball. You the player take this ink filled bottle with a tiny sponge on top and mark the corresponding number on the bingo sheet. If you complete a row or multiple rows depending on the type of bingo game being played, you call out “Bingo!”, You jump for joy and retrieve your winnings of about two bucks. No, I’m joking, the prize can vary from different amounts of money or even prizes.
This seems like a fairly simple game, and it is, if you have one bingo sheet. You see the more sheets you have the better your chances of winning. So here I am with my three bingo sheets sitting between the massive piles of bingo sheets both these old ladies have. Before the game, there is a lot of chatter going on and there is a positive atmosphere, that is, until the announcer starts the game. All goes quiet, old ladies finish stretching there arms and hands, and others are finishing lining up their 10 different color bingo dabbers. The room is now in a silent, serious mood as if there was a tense hostage scenario playing out. The first number is called.
“Ok” I think to my self, B5 shouldn’t be that hard to find. “Ok there is one here on this sheet I think there is one on…..”
“AHH! Wait I still need to get B5 on the other sheets!” for some reason, all ability to locate a single number under a single column goes out the window. I would have found Waldo before finding the other B5 and N24.
While I’m looking for my lost numbers in time I hear, *BATTABATTABATTABATTABATTABATTA* …. “What the?”
“Damn another number already!” I hear it again,
I look over to see the old ladies, moving faster than any ninja with A.D.D., dabbing all 50 sheets containing I17. These are the same ladies that drive 10 under the speed limit remind you!
I raise my hand and call someone over. I ask them if they can tell the announcer to slow down a bit please. I get a real dirty look from the elderly lady to my left; I didn’t know and old lady was capable of giving such a look. The assistant talks to the announcer and everyone stares at me, and while I struggle to find the remaining numbers I hear words like “Amateur” and “Oh my God” and “Slow Poke.” Suddenly a used bingo sheet appears in front of me, written on the back with dabber ink is a threat that would put most terrorists to shame, and truthfully, now that I think about it, I don’t think that many ink dabbers can fit in there. So now I sheepishly sink into my chair and it continues. The announcer calls off the letters and numbers… slowly while looking at me with this look of disappointment. The old lady to my right starts to get impatient and dabs my sheets for me. Across from me is this small quiet lady, she seems like a nice shy and timid type. She seems to be the slowest of the group with her dabber. I’m thinking maybe I should move next to her. Then the announcer calls
Now G31 seems to be the trigger word for a shy timid nice lady to… all the sudden rocket up like a kid on three pounds of sugar and scream at the top of her lungs, “BINGO!!! BINGO!!! BINGO!!!” The other lady next to her is peeled from the lighting fixture and the one behind her is given CPR from her heart attack.
So that is my bingo experience. Needless to say, I always seem to need one more number to win. I still think to this day that they had a camera over me and they purposely put back the ball that would let me complete my bingo.
This is the sport elderly people enjoy, and boy do they take it seriously. Next time I go play I’m bringing a bulletproof vest and a crew of people to help me find my missing numbers.