Monday, October 26, 2009

Dying Happy

I recently had a life-altering experience. I fulfilled a long-held dream of mine that, now complete, means that I will die happy. This past weekend I played bingo at the Oneida Bing & Casino in Green Bay, WI. I've never played bingo at a casino before, always preferring to keep my gambling addiction hidden in church basements and at grandma's house. However, I can tell you that the Nite Owl session in Oneida is a dream-fulfilling experience that I'll never forget.

The night started young at 7 P.M. My mother, and gambling compatriot (read: enabler), insisted we arrive early as the crazy bingo players usually do. Afterall, you cannot have a fulfilling bingo experience without following in the footsteps of the crazy bingo players.

After purchasing our packs and special games, we sat in a haze of secondhand smoke until the 9 P.M. session started. At 8:50 P.M. on the nose, the current session ended and we made a run for a table spot. Our goal was not to find the best spot, per se, but to find the best spot that would most enrage the habitual bingo players. You see, many crazy bingo players stake out the same spot every day and, at heart, are very, very superstitious people. Our goal that night was to infringe on that superstition.

Finally settled in for the long haul, we proceeded with the bingo experience. Twelve games later and none the richer, I took a moment and looked back on my time. Here's a rundown:

1. Most every game had the prefix "Crazy" attached to it. For example, we weren't just playing bingo, we were playing "Crazy Bingo." I concluded that the crazy bingo players could, in fact, only play crazy bingo. It makes a strange sort of sense.

2. Daubing is a must. Though the casino now offers computerized bingo games, the satisfyingly wet, ploppy sound of the dauber highlighting your latest numerical triumph is not to be missed.

3. Troll dolls do not help you win. Only successfully getting a bingo will help you win the game. Any charms, amulets, and, yes, troll dolls are unecessary and only make you look ridiculous.

4. The WI Smoking Ban cannot come soon enough. Unfortunately for this bingo player, The law does not apply to casinos. Alas, perhaps my bingo playing days are preemptively quashed.

5. "Don't embarrass me" was the one thing my mother told me when we started. Apparently, monitor bingo is a big no-no (calling "Bingo" based on a number shown on the monitor without waiting for the caller to announce it first).

6. Also prohibited? Talking. The serious (aka: crazy) bingo players get mad at you for messing with their concentration.

So, was it worth it? Indeed, it was. I now have plans to drag all of my friends to play bingo with me to share in the life-altering experience. And, of course, to snicker. Mustn't forget the snickering.

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