By Robert P. Simpson
There is nothing like the game of bingo to demonstrate the superiority of the female mind. Sure, my wife and mom always invited me to go with them, but I always declined in favor of the more challenging game of chess. They just smiled when I told them I would rather play a difficult game like chess.
And then it happened ...
My Wednesday chess club meeting was canceled. My wife felt sorry and invited me to join her and her mom for a fun evening of “daubing.”
It was a mind-numbing experience. There were 1,000 people packed into the church hall, each heavily armed with bingo supplies. I didn’t know there were bingo supplies. There was pizza and doughnuts and soft drinks and coffee. There were scoreboards like in a football stadium. There were numbered pingpong balls bouncing around like popcorn in a big fish aquarium. There was a grand knight of the Knights of Columbus announcing numbers into the public address system. There was excitement in the air.
My wife and her mom each bought nine cards for each game. I confidently handed the lady a $100 bill and asked for 20 cards for each game. My wife intervened and told her to give me only four.
We took our seats and lined up our cards in front of us. I was in the middle between the two of them. Ellen had nine cards in front of her and her mom had nine in front of her. I had four lonely cards in front of me. It was sort of embarrassing.
My wife gave me a package of bingo daubers. I spent most of the evening trying to use the word “daub” in a sentence. Then I just started playing with the daubers. I was daubing everything I could – my bingo card, my forearm, a hot dog, a piece of pizza, and the forehead of a sweet old lady sitting across from me. I gave her the measles with my red dauber.
I spent the first 15 minutes figuring out which color dauber to use – there were so many choices. I devised a daubing system – I would use red for even numbers, blue for odd numbers. I would show them what a chess player could do.
I got so distracted by the daubers that I didn’t notice the grand knight announcing the numbers. The hall quieted down. His voice was soothing as he announced an unending sequence of letters and numbers: “B-13, G-55, O-70 ... ”
I started to dream about how many possible combinations of letters and numbers there were on all the cards. Just as I figured out that there were 5.52×10e26 combinations, I was jolted by hands and daubers flying in front of my face from my right and my left. Blue, green, pink, yellow and red daubers, all the colors of the rainbow – flying in like jet planes with pinpoint accuracy to daub my cards. They daubed their own nine cards and all four of mine at the same time. All this time I was searching my cards for B-9. I couldn’t find it anywhere. My friend with the measles gently whispered – “Top left card, dear, first column, two numbers from the top!” She found it reading upside down.
By the third game, I got the hang of it. I was daubing like a veteran. I was holding pizza in my left hand, sipping a Coke through a straw, and daubing with my right hand at the same time. I was “On the Bubble” when the hallucination hit me. I got so excited I yelled, “Bingo!” with the confidence of a chess player delivering checkmate. Sighs of disappointment murmured through the hall as my family members looked over my cards.
It only took a few seconds for my wife to give me the, “I am sorry for the embarrassment you are about to experience” look. I had misdaubed. My wife apologized to the grand knight, “He was just practicing!”
I called an Uber and headed home. I dreamed that night about fianchettoing my bishop in the Sicilian defense. I would never play bingo again. That game was just too damn hard!
Robert P. Simpson, a Williamsville attorney, does not plan a return engagement to a bingo game anytime soon.