Dear Aunt Bingo,
I play Bingo at my parish church hall and feel I have to say something about a number of players who also play Bingo there and the language that they use quite loudly for all to hear.
These players have no problems using the “f” word and the “s” word, especially when they are losing. Unfortunately, this is also the language they enjoy using when they are winning as well. So as you can imagine, we hear it a lot.
I feel that this type of language is never appropriate or necessary, especially not at a church Bingo.
Right next door to our building is the House of the Lord. How can these people use the language they use when they are sitting within earshot of a sacred house of worship?
I would appreciate it if you would please run this letter in your column and hopefully get the message out to certain Bingo players that using foul language is never good and is particularly unacceptable at a church Bingo.
—LC, Texas, via email
“Foul” language is one of those things that has become more and more acceptable in situations where it was once frowned upon. Language experts say this is due, in part, to television and films, which used to be far stricter about the words their audiences could hear. A large part of it may also be due to the Internet, which has become the wild west of modern media.
It’s easy to make arguments on both sides of the issue of acceptable and unacceptable language.
Freedom of speech is an important American right that is protected by law. As such, who is to say what words can or cannot be uttered in social situations? Yet experience and common sense tell us that there are certain words and phrases that the majority of people consider inappropriate and offensive. As such, doesn’t the majority have the right to ban such language in certain settings?
My apologies for walking the fence on this one, but as a writer, ALL words are important to me and the thought of censoring anyone over the use of whichever words they choose makes me uncomfortable.
On the up side, I did run your letter, which hopefully will generate some thought among Bingo players on their use of salty language in Bingo halls and may even generate a few more letters on the subject.
Dear Aunt Bingo,
We had an interesting development at Bingo. It was on a very windy day with lots of small branches and limbs coming down—not enough that it was dangerous to be out and about but certainly a nuisance that meant plenty of yard work for everyone.
It was a fairly large crowd and we were about 20 minutes into the games when the power went out. The lights and monitors went dark and the Bingo machine clattered for a second and then went quiet. It was very spooky.
Somebody contacted the power company and announced that it was not an emergency but that it could be a while before power returned. The Bingo manager was apologetic and said she would return everybody’s money.
One of the players jokingly said that this would never have happened if we still used the Bingo cage. This caused a buzz of voices laughing and agreeing with him. The manager then said: “Well, we actually still have our Bingo cage in the storeroom.”
This resulted in a lively discussion among players about whether they wanted to play “the old fashioned way” or get a refund. Many players declined the offer, took their refunds and left. But 25 or so players chose to stay and enjoy some old cage Bingo.
The natural light from the windows was good, the room temperature was fine and they set up the Bingo cage pretty quickly. For an hour or two we played for $10 prizes until the money ran out. It was very nostalgic playing cage Bingo and everyone was very chatty and had a lot of fun.
The folks that took the refund really missed out on an enjoyable afternoon.
—Virginia, via email
I must confess that when I began reading your story, I was on the side of the folks who took their money back and bailed. But with nostalgic thoughts of wooden Bingo balls clattering in that cage slowly coming back to me, I’ll bet it made for a rare and precious afternoon.
Share your views! Write to Aunt Bingo c/o the Bingo Bugle, P.O. Box 527, Vashon, Washington 98070, or email her at STENGL456@aol.com. Be sure to include your name and address (you can request that your name not be published), as typically she will not include anonymous letters in her columns.