I’m pretty sure the last time I played bingo was my freshman year in college. It was at the University of Oklahoma student union, and my girlfriend (who is now my wife) and some friends were looking for a stereotypical wild evening on campus, and a rousing game of bingo fit the bill perfectly. I don’t remember what prizes were being offered, but I remember cash definitely wasn’t involved. I’m guessing we were playing for stuff along the lines of Ramen Noodles and James Van Der Beek DVDs, but as impoverished undergrads, we would have been thrilled to win such loot (turning down free stuff wasn’t exactly something I did in those days; I once signed up for a credit card just to get a free pizza).
While I haven’t played since, that doesn’t exactly mean I’m not a fan of bingo, or at least of certain elements of bingo. Random drawings, the anticipation of your lucky number coming along at any moment, listening intently: that’s all good stuff. It’s my appreciation for said good stuff that has led me to give Fall 2014’s installment of the Benbrook Adult Reading Challenge (or BARC, as it’s known by the cool kids) a bingonian makeover. With BARC-O, which runs from September 2 through December 29, reading tasks aren’t merely listed in a booklet; they’re playfully spread out on a bingo card. While you may still take on whichever tasks you wish, there’s now incentive to choose them strategically, as you’re not just after cold hard points; it’s a bingo you seek. To guide you in your quest, we’ll be drawing balls from a hopper every week of the challenge at the library. The reading tasks are themed after historical events and holidays for each fall month, and there will be distinct bingo cards for September, October, November, and December. Your first bingo of each month will earn you a nifty small prize*, as well as an entry into a drawing for a niftier, less small prize** that will be given away at the end of the challenge.
For full rules and instructions for BARC-O, click here. For general BARC information, click here. If you’re more of a face-to-face kind of cat and/or you want me to shut up about the instructions and just let you play already, come to the Information Desk at the library.
*Think on the level of a Van Der Beek DVD.
**Think on the level of the entire Van Der Beek DVD anthology.