Cows and Bingo

By Pat Edwards


Sometime in the 1980s, a local radio personality, trying to be funny, “pushed my button,” and I wrote the following letter of complaint. I never got a response, but I felt better for having written it!

How do you get 200 cows in a barn?… You put up a Bingo sign!”

Cute, John, cute! Let’s see, maybe you’re referring to that rather overweight lady sitting in Row 6. She’s dressed rather sloppily and is smoking a cigarette. As she shuffles up to the snack bar, her breathing sounds like a locomotive. The money that she pays for her Bingo buy-in probably could be used for food, clothing or other necessities, but just maybe she needs a little release from her dull life? Ok. She’s one candidate for your “cow” description.

How about that “cow” in Row 2 (in the non-smoking section)? She is in her 60’s – has been a housewife all of her life; lives in a mobile home in a park in the Danebo district. Her husband just passed away 2 months ago, and she has a son who comes to see her on weekends. Life has become pretty lonely during the week, but the friends that sit with her at Bingo share conversation and concern and give her an interest outside of herself. And, occasionally being able yell “Bingo” gives her that little rush of adrenaline that has been so absent in her life for so long.

Or maybe your picture of the Bingo cow is of the lady sitting in Row 8 next to her husband. Her chair just happens to be on wheels and her husband attentively pushes her into the Bingo hall and settles her in among their regular group of friends while he goes to the snack bar to buy her a taco salad before “the games begin.” She always gets hugs and hellos from the regulars.

Cow? Oh, but you forget. There are lots of bulls in the barn as well! One of them comes to play Bingo two or three times a week. He used to come with his wife. They were such a “cute” couple. Many people would stop at their table to chat and to ask how they were doing. Soon, she no longer came with him. Some said she was in the hospital with a stroke. Many of the cows and bulls stopped by regularly to inquire about her and to give him hugs and moral support. The “stroke” was actually Alzheimer’s and he continued to come – to get out into the world of the other cows and bulls for a couple of hours of social interaction.

But, the Bingo “cows” and “bulls” are not all ailing or gummers! There is the family – mother, father, daughter and son-in-law in Row 1 who just wanted to get out and do something fun where they could laugh and converse and maybe even pick up some extra spending money. You can’t do that in a movie theater or while sitting around the T.V. set watching the Blazers once again going down to defeat!

As you look around the barn, you see a lot of plain, average cows and bulls. True, there isn’t much sophistication emanating from the silo. It’s just a herd that enjoys socializing while drinking non-alcoholic Diet Cokes, eating chili dogs and, once in a while, getting high – not from cocaine or pot – but from the adrenaline rush when yelling “Bingo” at the top of their lungs. Sure, their money could be invested in more profitable activities, just as their time could be spent alone, or their thoughts mired in the problems of every day life. Cows? Come on, John!

I’m using this as an example of the insensitivity you and some others who are in the public eye show in order to try and be funny. If you have to degrade or embarrass others in order to be funny, amusing, entertaining, etc., then to me, and others like me, you are not “funny, amusing, or entertaining, etc.”

Show some class – earn the respect of your listeners, don’t try to insult our intelligence. The best on-air personalities are those who are naturally funny and witty and who make use of the naturally funny things in life that surround us daily. When you have to strain for and concoct humor, then you lose not only your credibility but your audience as well.

You might be wise to take some advice from this old cow, John. According to you, that’s what I am even though I am also a wife, mother, grandmother, friend, well-respected employee, freelance writer, editor/publisher, active community member, animal lover, computer word-processing “expert” – and a weekly Bingo player.

2 thoughts on “Cows and Bingo

    1. Thanks, Gus. That happened many years ago, but I still remember the anger I felt as I wrote that piece. The manager of the radio station was devastated and apologized, but the DJ never did.


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