BINGO!

Many people enjoy an occasional game of Bingo. After all, Bingo does fall in the ‘game’ category and therefore should be fun – a solid source of entertainment.

Maybe I’m too competitive or let my impatience get the best of me, but Bingo is no stroll in the park. I’d have to search long and hard to find another game which musters up such high levels of frustration and boredom.

Sadly, repulsion fades over time. So even when the unfavorable activity is proposed for a source of entertainment, the negative connotation isn’t recent enough to remember exactly how monotonous this “activity” is. Besides, you already spent $5 on a dauber – you might as well use some of the ink.

You know the drill. Once you have your card, you wait for the letters and numbers to be called. Hoping to possess the magic card, you anxiously await each number and repeat it while scanning your card for the combination.

If it’s found, you let out a little, “yessssss!” and firmly stamp your card. Once you have a half of a row filled, you begin brainstorming creative ways to announce your victory. Scream it loud or say it soft? Show your excitement or be nonchalant?

Veterans of the game quickly get annoyed with your parrot skills and enthusiasm and start shaking their head at you. You quickly learn why they’re so grumpy.

“BINGO!” you hear from the corner. Your shoulders slump, your eyes roll and everyone in the room groans. Several glares are shot across the room at the person waving their card through the air. Others simply set down their dauber and crumple up their own game.

You wait for the assistant to discover the player erred in their stamping, which never happens. Before you know it, the caller and gamers move on to the next game.

For the next fifteen minutes, you intently listen to the caller. Frantically searching your card each time a combination is called, your hopes begin to elevate again. Nobody has shouted the key word, and you are getting close to a Bingo! Forgetting that others are likely getting close, too, you bite your lip, cross your fingers and allow a smirk to spread across your face.

“B-10, B-10, B-10,” you begin to chant under your breath, swaying from side to side and bouncing one knee. “Show me the money!”

“I-18,” the caller announces.

You start gritting your teeth, hoping for once in your life this game will be different.

That’s when you hear it – the sound of a “regular” winning for the tenth time that afternoon.

“Bingo…” They sound as if they just lost their best friend. Craning your neck, you try to see why someone who just won sounds like they’re re-experiencing The ‘not-so-great’ Great Depression. Oddly, the person looks familiar. You could swear the same person was sitting in the exact chair last time you played – over two years ago.

Well, if they’re still here, maybe I could learn a thing or two from them, you think, keeping an eye on the Bingo pro. Studying their strategy, it is suddenly very apparent what you’ve been doing wrong. Dauber in each hand, this person has a sea of cards in front of them. Shouldn’t that be considered some form of cheating? They appear as if they’re doing some type of arm exercise as they rapidly scan and stamp their cards. And there you sit, slacking off by playing with only one card, which you struggle to keep up with.

Obviously the game is more than just entertainment to this Bingo fiend – it’s a profession. Their stacks of cards make their surroundings look like a recycling center, and anyone who can pay attention to seven or more cards must have speed-reading abilities, which they likely practice to enhance their bingo playing. They spread out new cards and prepare for another sweep.

At this point, staring at the boxes and numbers starts to give you a headache – or maybe it’s the smell of your dauber’s pink ink. Your mind wanders to more meaningful things that could be done with your time – like dusting your vacuum or revising the research paper you wrote for a middle school class project fifteen years ago.

Figuring your odds of winning in the presence of the Queen of Bingo, you realize you’ll likely never get to be the one to stand and proudly proclaim “BINGO!”

Unless, of course, you buy a dog.

Shootin’ the Wit is a weekly column about everyday life that should never, ever be taken too seriously.

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