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I am a Third Order Franciscan of the Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Bingo Night

This evening I had my first Bingo experience - six hours of bingo experience to be exact. I really don't know where to begin. There were about two hundred players eagerly surrounded by sheets of about twenty bingo cards and a computer keeping track of even more bingo cards, tubes of ink to mark cards, lucky charms and dolls, cigarettes and more. People were spending hand over fist not just for bingo, but for these lottery cars as well. Many had to fork over at least two hundred dollars for these things.

I really think that a documentary filmmaker could do an excellent movie about the bingo culture. On any given night, including Sunday, there are at least three bingo tournaments going on in the area. Our particular church runs two bingo nights a week and earns about one hundred thousand dollars annually - 90% goes to the Parish school to keep tuition low, the rest goes to the parish.

I spent the whole evening walking around tables selling these lottery cards to people who couldn't get enough of them. I really don't know what to think about this, on the one hand I'm not sure whether it is a good idea to support gambling. Most of the participants were older and I don't know whether they could afford to spend the amounts that they were giving out. On the other hand, it is making Catholic education more affordable, especially for poorer Catholic families. At best it seems like a mixed blessing.

All I can say is that my feet hurt and I need a drink. I'm getting too old for this. I took this job to get to heaven, but I didn't think it would speed up the process.


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