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Hungry eyes watched me the way a group of cannibals might watch someone my size naked and covered in ketchup

The room was a toaster oven and I was crisping up quite nicely. I was surrounded by eligible women who wanted nothing more than to capture my attention – a first in my 31 years. Everything started out calmly enough, but then one by one the women started rolling in. Soon the room was packed and filled with shouts and jeering. Drinks and snacks were flowing like milk and honey in Canan and consumed the way a Sumo might consume large quantities of free sushi. The women were working themselves into a frenzy and the room continued to sizzle and pop like a pan filled with fat pieces of smokey bacon.

“B12” Gerald said and then repeated, “B12! That’s B one two.”

“What did he say? G12?” One lady said her voice a crackly whisper. Another lady repeated as if she were a parrot. “What did he say? G12? What did he say?”

The same questions were repeated throughout the morning after every letter was called.

“What game are we playing? The letter what? Oh, the letter T! I don’t have the letter T.”

Even well fed and highly medicated these octegenarians could become quite persnickety, especially when we suddenly switched from straight* bingo to a raffle ticket. They were so focused on Bingo that they became vexed and often livid when they couldn’t find 3498675 on their Bingo card. “Huh, what is he talking about? Say it slower, he’s saying it too fast!” Most of them had no trouble covering square after square with poker chips, but when we tried to switch from one type of bingo to anything else then we may as well have asked them to moonwalk.

After playing no less than 800 games of bingo every possible way it could be played we took a small break so that I could be put on the spot and made to dance like some two-bit dog and a tired-out pony. A small radio was brought out and they searched for a station to find some music that I could dance too. Fittingly enough, the song “Does that make me Crazy” was on and I said, “Yes, that song will do and apparently yes I am crazy.”

I did three 8 counts to a Tag Team routine we do as Mavericks ManiAACs. As soon as I finished there was a lot of applause and then Anne, a very sweet and surprisingly spry, lady hopped up and asked to dance with me. I thought she wanted to dance hip-hop or learn party of my routine, but no, she wanted to two-step and so we danced and spun like two kids hopped up on sugary lemonheads and licorice strings. Here is a picture of the two of us together.


Eddo and Anne twisting the night away… (even though it was 10:30 in the morning I am sure some of the people were about ready for bedtime)

After we had finished dancing I allowed the emergency medical team to assist my new dance partner with a crash cart and a fresh bottle of oxygen. Just kidding, even though the dancing was exhilirating I didn’t dip-and-flip her the way I like to do because I didn’t know if she could handle the surprise of it all. I think physically she would have been capable, but even young 20-somethings are sometimes caught off gaurd when you pick them up and bend them over your arm like a piece of lime saltwater taffy.
As we were leaving everyone waved goodbye and I think I even saw a few tears (not really). Anne piped up and said, “Come back and visit us, We’ll be here till death comes!” And then she let out a cackle that was both hilarious and sad at the same time. It sort of seemed to echo in the vast hollowness of my head and it reminded me of my own mortality – and then I laughed and reminded myself that I am immortal. I’m a man, I’m 31 and I’m going to live forever.
This event was something we did for United Way through my job and it really was a blast. If you have time and you would like to reach out and volunteer some of your time, then consider visiting a retirment facility, those people are dying to see you.
*Straight bingo has nothing to do with sexual preference or orientation. Straight bingo is just regular bingo without any special tricks.

By Evan Stark

Eddie Renz is an avid fan of Egyptology, Wilbur Smith and bacon. Not a fan of humility but often finds himself humbled when he is around people who understand numbers like the Fibonacci sequence and Pi.

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