"We rob banks." -Clyde Barrow

Bingo aka Beango

Many friends, co-workers and family members have told me on more than one occasion that I am the luckiest person they know. The Luck of the Irish shines upon me, almost continually. I’m the guy that pulls into Walmart on Christmas Eve and gets a front row parking spot every single time. I’m the guy that doubles down in blackjack when he shouldn’t and still wins. I’m the guy that buys a single raffle ticket and walks away with a prize. In all things that involve luck, I do well. All things, except one:


I’ve played bingo for free and never won. I’ve played bingo for money and never won. We used to play bingo in fifth grade music class and I never won then, either. I can’t recall ever winning a single game of bingo. How someone generally so lucky can win so infrequently consistently in a game that is decided completely by luck is beyond me. I never win at bingo, ever ever ever, so if at all possible I don’t play bingo. Look, my life’s pretty awesome. If the worst thing someone says about my after I’m dead is, “nice guy, but he sure did suck at bingo,” I’ll be okay with that.

Last night was Bingo night at Mason’s school. Both kids’ schools have a bingo night each year — it’s a fundraiser that makes money by selling bingo cards and giving away donated prizes. Typically I try to skip out of bingo night, but with Susan still recovering from knee surgery, I decided to suck it up and try my hand one last time at bingo.

At fundraisers (especially ones for the school) we try and spend as much money as we can, so we showed up hungry. For dinner the school was selling two slices of pizza and a can of soda for $3. This seemed extremely reasonable to me (I was expecting to spend at least $5/person) and so we ended up using the money we saved on food on additional bingo cards. This turned out to be a mistake.

With two sheets of paper (each containing six bingo game boards) in front of me, the madness began. It may sound ridiculous, but I could not keep up with the speed at which the numbers were being called. Despite a few random cries of “SLOW DOWN!” from the crowd, the bingo caller called numbers swiftly one after another. B7… O72… I17… with each new number I rapidly scanned my game cards, my eyes dashing back and forth like I was watching a tennis match in fast forward. The words “bingo” and “super stressful” do not normally appear in the same sentence, but they will here: this was the most super stressful game of bingo I have ever played.

(Thanks to my friend Tamara for the punny title: “BEANGO”.)

Complicating matters was the fact that we were given beans with which to mark our cards. Beans are not flat; their rounded shape makes them wobble and wiggle whenever they are dropped onto, oh say, a bingo card. Thank goodness there weren’t any children around to bump the tables and make everybody’s beans shift around! OH WAIT THAT HAPPENED 90 TIMES. If numbers weren’t being hurled toward us at a breakneck speed — which they were — a person might have had the time to straighten his roly-poly beans and re-verify the numbers on his or her card. But not on last night’s quarter mile bingo drag strip.

I don’t know how many games of bingo we played last night, but Mason won at least three times, as did Susan. I am proud to say that I broke my 39-year bingo losing streak, only after Mason got bored and gave me his card to play as well. We walked away with two OU scarves, an activity bag, a jar of Yukon Millers Salsa, and several other goodies.

The last game of the night was a “blackout” game where winners must cover every square of their card. The grand prize was a Kindle Fire, so of course we stayed even though I knew I had no chance of winning. When the shouts of BINGO came — and there were three, all at once — both Morgan and Mason needed two numbers to finish covering their cards. I needed 9. Even if it had been a normal “five-in-a-row” game of bingo and not a game of blackout, I still wouldn’t have won. It is impossible to convey just how unlucky I am at bingo. Then again, when we pulled up to the school someone has just backed out the very front parking spot and I got it. Can’t win ’em all, I suppose.

As we were leaving Mason’s Principal announced that they would be buying two additional Kindle Fire tablets for the other two winners, so good for them. As for me, I suspect I’ll keep this OU scarf forever as a reminder of the ONE time I won a game of bingo.

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