Last night I won seventy-five bucks playing Bingo. They also let you pick an additional goofy little prize – last night they had a couple of glow sticks, a back scratcher, Pop Rocks, a candy necklace – some really cool stuff. And they had a Bible. A Bible. In the bar as a prize for gambling. It was a white Bible in a plastic wrapper about the size of a regular 6” x 9” paperback book.
I did not need another Bible, but the Catholic guilt in me launched a monologue in my head that I could hear even above the pounding music. The guilt said, “You can’t choose exploding candy over a Bible, how could you even think that. Pick it up right now and get it out of this den of iniquity.”
I heaved my shoulders back and said to myself, “Look, I don’t need another Bible and I really, really want those Pop Rocks.”
“If you don’t choose the best gift of all, every one who wins Bingo is going to come over here and make fun of the Bible. You HAVE to take it.”
This argument went on for an inordinate amount of time, but as you may well have guessed, guilt won out and I sheepishly grabbed the Bible and sulked back to the table.
“Oh my gosh,” Laurie said. “She picked the Bible!” Laurie and Olivia burst out laughing as if that was the funniest thing they’d ever witnessed. Olivia grabbed it and looked at the label on the back. “This thing was published in China, the most atheistic country in the world. So you won a Bible published in a godless country in a bar drinking beer and gambling.”
She prized open the plastic wrap. “Is it written in Chinese,” I asked.
“No it’s in English, but the words are microscopic,” Olivia said. The words were as small as the directions on a medicine bottle. “Nobody could read this.”
They kept laughing and making Bible-in-the-bar jokes until the guy came around with more Bingo cards. We bought cards and spread them out, dobbing the free space and getting prepared for the next game. Laurie put her hand on the Bible and said, “For good luck.” Olivia and I put our hands on top of her’s, and then started giggling because of the irony of that – asking the Lord to help us gamble successfully.
Turns out Olivia ended up winning on one of my Bingo cards, and we got 50 more dollars. Since it was my card officially, I was the winner, so I split the prize with them because by that time I’d have enough alcohol to make me magnanimous. We made Olivia go up and get the prize money, and she picked out the Pop Rocks. There were three little bags in the package so I ended up with my exploding candy after all. It was Karma – or whatever the equal to that is in the Bible. I think I made the right choice.