Expansion Packs For Tracy's Beach Blanket Bingo (TM)


Photo by Tracy Grathwohl


Friends of this column might remember that last August, I invented a game, Tracy’s Beach Blanket Bingo™: The revolutionary game for inactive beachgoers. I hate swimming in the ocean and am too distracted to read, so my only beach activity is gawking at strangers. As I watched, I noticed some patterns and created a bingo game with squares such as “kids fighting over the one good shovel” or “seagull unzips bag and eats sandwich” or “elderly gentleman wears the smallest possible Speedo.”

While still only in the concept stage (dammit reader, I’m a columnist, not a toy manufacturer), BBB™ was a huge hit – in my mind. And if any of you friends of the column happen to be in the imaginary game industry then you know that the key to success is expand, expand, expand.

But how to come up with something new? If only something has happened since last summer that would enhance the BBB™ experience? Hmm….

Well, friends, I give you Tracy’s Beach Blanket Bingo™ Covidian™ Expansion Pack. This new edition will include squares with “beachgoers whose masks match their Tommy Bahama chairs and umbrellas,” and “nervous couple attempting to nonchalantly read while two kids are playing Kadima a bit too close to their chairs,” and “young women whose masks are made of more fabric than their bikinis.”

There will also be a square for “a family with a six-foot tape measure in their beach bag,” and “a mom telling a toddler not to touch anything until the sunscreen and hand sanitizer dries,” and, of course, the square for “a child shoving their newly sanitized, still damp hands into the sand.”

For the Hamptons edition of the Covidian™ Expansion Pack, I will include “spotting Scarlett Johansson, or was it Naomi Watts?” Either way, on the beach and in a mask, they both look the same. There will be a square for “waiting in the parking line behind a blue Rolls Royce convertible,” and another for “the 20-somethings in a red Jeep Rubicon who think they can cajole the cop into letting them cut the parking lot line.”

Last year’s BBB™ had a square for the one extended family who somehow had a sink in their oversized tent. This year’s Covidian™ Pack will have a square for the beachgoers who don’t have a sink. My fantasy beach sink is a big item this year. Everyone should get one.

Sadly, my beach time has been greatly curtailed by my visits to the post office, a place I have to go every day because the US Postal Service doesn’t deliver to my street. When the entire island of Manhattan decamped to the east end for the quarantine, my twenty-minute errand became a treacherous two-hour task.

That’s where I came up with a spin-off to Tracy’s Beach Blanket Bingo™, Tracy’s Post Office Bingo™: The revolutionary game for dejected post office clientele. If you’re playing POB™, the hour and a half you spend waiting to pick up a package will zip(code) by!

Squares will include “eavesdrop on someone’s phone conversation,” and “watch person stretch their hamstrings in line” and “give the stink-eye the guy standing behind you a bit too close.”

One whole row on POB™’s bingo card could be dedicated to people’s reaction to the long lines, such as “person curses under her breath” or “person looks despondently at his watch,” or my favorite, “person curses loudly upon seeing the line then leaves the building (as if tomorrow’s line will be any shorter).”

The hardest square to fill is the miraculous “THERE IS NO LINE!”

There will also be squares for “person waits thirty-five minutes for a book of stamps,” and “postal worker tells yet another customer that the post office is receiving twice the amount packages this summer,” and “person applies for a passport.” Why? Where could they be going?

The Hamptons edition of POB™ will include “parked behind a green convertible Rolls,” and another for “young woman trying to cut the line with her Rent the Runway return.” I’ll have a square for “spotting Scarlett Johansson, or was it Naomi Watts?” Either way, in the post office and in their masks, their desperation will still look the same.

But why am I limiting this game to the beach or post office? How about Tracy’s Grocery Store Bingo™ or Tracy’s Starbucks Drive-thru Bingo ™ or just Tracy’s Covidian Bingo™? Then I could include squares for more general sightings such as, “person wearing designer mask,” or “person wearing their mask over their mouth but not their nose,” or the disturbing, “person wearing mask with a photo of their face.” I might even put in a square for “man improvises his Speedo into a mask,” which I was lucky enough to see while at the post office.

And now I can’t unsee it.

It seems to me that TCB™ could be played anytime, anywhere. If only there was a way to always have the game on you? Hmm….

Friends of the column, I give you the Tracy’s Covidian Bingo App™: The revolutionary mobile game for our socially distant world. Play it at the beach or in line at the post office. Get points for spotting a person going the wrong way down the supermarket aisle, look for folks who refuse to stand six feet apart and get bonus points for watching the curve flatten.

Available exclusively in my imagination.

Published in The East Hampton Press, August 13, 2020. https://www.27east.com/east-hampton-press/expansion-packs-for-tracys-beach-blanket-bingo-1716084/


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