September 27, 2007

Bingo: It's Not Just a Job, It's (Somewhat) an Adventure.

Who knew that bingo would be such a good place to people-watch? Certainly in that category bingo is the gift that keeps on giving. Today, for example, I saw an attractive young woman with lipstick on her neck. It was in the form of a large set of lips. My co-workers said it was a tattoo rather than the result of a kiss before bingo.

Another woman casually takes a Dixie cup, fills it with pickles, then proceeds back to her seat where she consumes them, one after another. She takes the phrase "if it's free, it's for me" way too literally.

An elderly lady retrieves money from her bra, a new "convert" to this bra-money thing and it's something I dearly hope isn't becoming a fad. Another looks the spitting image of country crooner George Strait.

Kim attracts eccentrics, like the woman who inexplicably said that she gets cold whenever Kim goes by. Say what?

I think poorer people tend to be more eccentric. If you've driven by areas of Appalachia you might get that impression, at least in what passes for yard art. Perhaps there is too much conformity required for those who climb the corporate ladder, even those holding onto the first rung. I'm cheered by the diversity (there's that word!) and by the stubborn refusal of these people to care what other people think of them. One woman apparently thought it was New Year's Eve and donned a sequin'd black sleeveless dress. That shook up the girls on the crew as they all feeling woefully undressed by comparison. At the other extreme last month a woman came in her pajamas.

On a sadder note, Kim mentioned how close her father came to dying recently due to a staph infection that had spread all over his body; he now requires daily $5,000 shots. She said that our pastor came out to visit him in the hospital and told Kim, although in language heavily laden with caveats, that he didn't think her father would die. "I can see it in their eyes," he said. After almost forty years as a priest and seeing people on the brink of death he said he can tell whether they'll make it from their eyes.

How much do our bodies reveal! To the perceptive, are we open books?

Our relatively young (late '40s is now relatively young to me) leader Doug confessed to going to a Bingo Conference of some sort last weekend. I teased him: you might be getting old if you willingly attend a bingo conference. Ah but it keeps you off the streets...

(To tune of Merle Haggard's Workin' Man Blues, borrowing heavily from the Hag man)

It's a big job just sellin' instants out there in the strife
I been a bingo man feels like all my life
I'll be sellin' Rednecks long as my hands are fit to use
I'll drink my beer in a tavern,
Sing a little bit of these bingo man blues

I keep my nose on the grindstone, work hard every fourth Thursday
Might get a little tired on the weekend, after I draw no pay
But I'll go back workin, come four Thursdays I'm back with the crew
I'll eat a little pizza that evening,
Sing a little bit of these bingo man blues.

Hey hey, the bingo man, the bingo man like me
I ain't never been a caller, that's one place I won't be
Cause I'll be sellin' long as my two hands are fit to use
I eat a little pizza after clean-up
Sing a little bit of these bingo man blues

Sometimes I think about leaving, do a little runnin' around
I wanna throw that money pouch out the window and head outta town
But I go back bingoin' - it's a lifetime appointment like the Pope's
Yeah eat a little pizza with the crew,
Cry a little bit of these bingo man blues.
[Photo credit: Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine.]

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