EIGHTY-EIGHT! Somebody please kill me now. That was my thought the one and only time that I have played bingo, a game that is inexplicably popular across the Western world. I say ‘game’ but it’s not really a game, it’s just crossing off numbers.
I just don’t get it. The prizes are less than appealing, there’s very little meaningful social interaction and it’s just dull. So, so dull. It’s so tragic that ‘they’ had to make up quirky nicknames for the numbers, which are recited in unison by the players, just to inject some humour into proceedings. And presumably to also ensure that everyone is still awake.
Mainly because the stereotypical bingo player, the ones who spend quite literally tens of pounds on several game cards, are generally older ladies who are actually happy to consume the fast food on sale in bingo halls. Yes, two fat ladies are indeed a common sight.
And how many times can such fat ladies find it amusing to call out the nickname to the number 88? Do they really think that they each look like a number 8? How low has their self-esteem got to be, really? Two ‘big boned’ ladies do not ever look like 88, unless they have been hideously decapitated and their limbs buried in a forest.
But that’s not the worst of the nicknames:
Number 9 ‘doctor’s orders’ – well that was a laxative pill prescribed by doctors in World War 2. Hmm, topical amongst the bingo age group, I guess.
‘Sweet 16, never been kissed’? More like 16 and already pregnant.
’24, knock at the door’ – that’s just someone trying to escape.
’44, droopy drawers’ – again, topical.
’69, anyway up’ – you dirty old codgers, I feel sick.
And lastly, ‘man alive, number 5’ – not really a nickname, it’s actually a question often asked by comperes who are concerned at the comatose nature of the men present. It’s always good to check the old folk.
So why did I end up playing bingo? Well, it just so happened that I joined a large group of friends on holiday in Cornwall. On a mobile home park. Not my idea. So during the evenings there was little to do, except join the permanent residents for the daily bingo nights in the clubhouse. Yes, they played every day. They took their bingo seriously and reacted with anger to our constant chatter, like we were interrupting their children’s mathematics exam.
I never want to play bingo ever again. Once was more than enough. If anyone ever sees me entering the doors of my local bingo hall, they have my express permission, here in writing, that they should buy me a one way ticket to Switzerland for ‘treatment’ at the Dignitas clinic. I would have obviously got to the point in my life when I had nothing left to live for. My mind would clearly have lost the ability to find something, anything, to occupy and stimulate my thoughts sufficiently to save me from number calling mediocrity. You’d be doing me a great favour.