Older Than Dirt: Bingo!

I bet that you probably know at least one person who loves to play bingo. Most people either love it or hate it. I personally hate it!

It takes too long, you end up splitting the win, and bingo players are a breed amongst themselves. They take their bingo very seriously. And do not accuse them of gambling. Bingo is not gambling!

I come from a long line of poker players. When sister and I were little, our parents often had poker games that went on for two days. While the poker games were in the kitchen, some of my uncles might be shooting dice in the living room.

Sister and I knew how to play poker, blackjack and jacks or better high-low, by the time we were 8 years old. I think pinochle was probably the only card game we did not catch on to.

Gambling was something that even poor people could do. Just so long as it was nickle ante with a dime limit (quarter on the last card).

Some of the aunties thought these poker games were shameful. They would call up and yell at my uncles on the phone quite often. Sometimes they would get so upset, they would go to the neighboring church and play BINGO! That, of course, was the aunts who were not also IN the poker game.

So these players would pick up their lady friends and head for bingo. Sometimes at church, sometimes at the local Lions club. They would not only take turns driving, but would usually agree to share the winnings, if there were any.

So let me get this straight. You spend $5 to $25 on cards, and then you are going to split the winnings with your group? And we are usually talking a $100 prize, or less. Since some of the cards do have the same numbers, it is likely that you will already be sharing the winnings with another person you don't even know.

Playing bingo was not gambling, you see. You just buy some cards with numbers on them, and hope you have the RIGHT numbers. When you get enough of the right numbers you can win some money.

And talk about superstitious. The ladies would take their lucky bingo daubers, small stuffed animals and all kinds of little knick-knacks. They even had a lucky chair to sit on, and by gosh you better not even think of sitting in their lucky chair! These non-gambling fanatics could become violent.

I personally think that this is indeed gambling, no matter what you want to call it. I also find it interesting that often the Gamblers Anonymous meetings are held at the church. Just a coincidence?

One of my former employees was a bingo player. She actually chose bingo over her job. Indeed, she had a difficult time explaining to unemployment that she lost her job because she decided that bingo was more important than showing up for work!

She was given a choice after leaving work early twice for the "bingo special." The third time, she was terminated from her job. Now that is one serious bingo player.

My ex-mother-in-law was a bit of a bingo nut. I really wanted to spend some time with her, so I went with her to bingo. As it turned out, it was the most boring two hours I have ever spent! I vowed not to play bingo again at any time, for any reason. In fact, I often refer to it as a personal torture, a lot like having to watch reality shows!

I have lived in Las Vegas and Reno, and now I'm only an hour from Laughlin. I would be fibbing if I said I did not enjoy gambling. However, I still hate bingo! And I still say bingo is gambling, like it or not!