Laughing at cows can be harmful, especially while playing bingo

Cow Patty bingo As you probably know, national “Be Kind to Animals Week” is almost here. And just when Florida was beginning to re-gain a small measure of respectability by working hard to draw absolutely no attention to itself, it is once again in the national spotlight.

I’m talking, of course, about the controversy surrounding Cow-Patty Bingo.

For those who might not be familiar with this activity for reasons of sanity, we’ll just take a moment to cover the basics.

First, you need a cow.

Second, you need a REALLY BIG bingo card.

OK, not really. But you really do need a cow, preferably one that has just eaten a lot of fiber — like, say, a 55-gallon drum of granola. Next, you need a large field or yard (such as a neighbor’s) that can be divided into numbered grids. Once you have the cow and the grid, it’s time to start selling squares. This requires finding people who think that poop is entertaining. If you know anyone who watched Jersey Shore, that would probably be a good place to start.

The rules to Cow-Patty Bingo are simple. Each square is numbered and sold for $5 each, and you can buy as many squares as you like. Keep in mind, however, that the more money you spend on squares the less you can spend on beer, which is something you’ll need a lot of in order to cloud any memory of yourself standing in the bleachers screaming “POOP IN MY SQUARE!”

It’s also important to note that, in order for a “drop” to qualify, it must be deemed “clearly visible” by the judges. This is actually a lot harder than it sounds. That’s because, in order to prepare for this level of scrutiny, judges, on average, consume twice as much beer as spectators at these events.

OK, now that we’ve covered the basics, it’s time to talk controversy. According to an article sent to to me by Jack Ortiz of Reedsport, Ore., a recent Cow-Patty Bingo fund raiser held at Florida Southern College became the target of protests from PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) which said, and I quote: “Cows are adversely affected by laughter.”

(I should clarify that PETA was referring to human laughter, and not cows getting laughed at by other cows. I should further clarify that, as far as cows are concerned, the poop thing just isn’t that funny anymore.)

Furthermore, Amy Rhodes, a caseworker for PETA, strongly denounced the college’s participation in Cow-Patty Bingo, saying that it was “A dangerous message to send to kids.”

I completely agree with this, and can see how prolonged exposure to this type of activity starting at an early age can only lead to one thing — and that is retirement and REAL bingo.

Probably somewhere in Florida.

While there are certainly no easy solutions to the growing controversy over Cow-Patty Bingo, I think finding some common ground would be a good place to start. From there, we can finally move forward.

Just as long as everyone watches where they step.

(You can write to Ned at, or Siuslaw News. P.O. Box 10, Florence, Ore. 97439)

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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

57 thoughts on “Laughing at cows can be harmful, especially while playing bingo”

  1. We have a bar here in town that prides itself of being the “home of the chicken-shit contest.” Same concept, but with chickens. They used to actually have that slogan painted on the side of their building, but the city made them change it to “chicken-drop.”

        1. Again, you’re only making this sound more and more like my kind of place. There was a bar in Anchorage that was built before the big earthquake in the 60s. The whole place was on an angle. Because of this, the bar had pegs so, when you got your beet, it would slide down the bar. After a few beers, things seemed to level out.

          1. I used to love going into that place because it was the only bar in town that had a record player AND they didn’t mind me bring albums in to play, but the bartender that owned the record player moved to New Orleans and took the equipment with him so I’ve had to seek out a new novelty to get me in somewhere. I did happen to discover the only bar in town with a shuffle board table though. The angle bar sounds like just the novelty to keep me in as a regular!

            1. The record player thing sounds really cool. The place in Anchorage is called “The Birdhouse.” The had the hottest pickled eggs on the planet and plenty of beer to wash it down with. If it was your first time there, you also couldn’t leave until you tacked a piece of clothing to a wall or post in the bar. It had layers and layers of panties, bras, boxers… sort of like the rings on a tree. The deeper you dug, the older the undergarments. I didn’t dig too deeply, though. Most of it wasn’t washed.

  2. Okay, Ned! Now you have gone a step too far, and I don’t mean by squooshing a cow patty under your sneakers! First, you cause me to ruin 3 perfectly good keyboards by snorting Earl Grey on them, and now you are causing me endless grief over my WHOLE STATE!!! I’m planning to bill you for the keyboards, but the grief thing is a bit less tangible. I’ll think of something! We Florida natives (me and that guy up in the Panhandle) are getting sick and tired of this, you know!

    Do you have any idea of what we few (three) intelligent and SANE inhabitants of the sunny state of Florida have to go through already? Wandering around in a stunned daze, holding our lamps high and hoping to pick out the occasional kindred spirit here or there, kicking piles of hanging chads out of the way as we go? It ain’t easy! And now you are making us the Central Headquarters for Cow Poop Bingo? *sigh* When it is ever enough with you jurnalists?

    I’m going off to sulk now, but I will leave you with ONE PARTING THOUGHT, O’ Wielder of That Mighty Pen: 99.9% of the people currently residing in the state of Florida come from ELSEWHERE!! (Mostly Ohio, Michigan, New York, Jersey and Indiana). They show up wearing madras plaid bermuda shorts, left over from their obviously misspent youths, and black socks with their sandals and reeking of sunblock, and the first thing they do is plant a flock of pink flamingos on their lawns. Then they look around and go, “What the heck am I supposed to do from age 65 until I finally shuffle off this mortal coil at roughly 102?” And then it hits them. “Oh, yeah. Cow Patty Bingo.”

    Oh, the shame.

    1. I could be wrong, but I think I may have struck a nerve..? 😉 I think it’s the heat and humidity that causes all the craziness. All the places people seem to be migrating to Florida from all have very cold winters. You know what they say: If you can’t stand the heat, you’re probably plying shuffleboard in Florida.

      1. Nah, you didn’t really strike a nerve. I was actually just making fun of the whole general weirdness that is Florida, these days. Between the sinkholes and the pythons, and now apparently the cow patties, we few natives are walking around shaking our heads and wondering how it got this way. Used to be, we were just sittin’ around fryin’ up some catfish and eating swamp cabbage, hoping the Skunk Ape wouldn’t come get us, and mindin’ our own business, and now we are Looney Bin Central. And you can’t find more than two Florida natives left in any one county. I think it’s the law, or something. (Divide and conquer?) Anyway, you didn’t SERIOUSLY think I was mad, did ya? I was just givin’ you “what-for” as my granny would say! I loved the whole post.

        1. Nah, I knew better 😉 Fried catfish and the Skunk Ape — I haven’t heard those terms since I left Georgia! And I know what you’re saying though about being outnumbered. Half the population in my small town is from somewhere other than Oregon. You can tell by the way they drive; everyone from California drives offensively… and you can take that however you’d like 😉

          1. Having visited my daughter in San Diego several times, I know just how to take that, believe me. I white-knuckled the armrest every time we got on the freeways. Gulp.

            I do like my fried catfish, however, after nearly 70 years of poking around the wilderness by land and canoe, I’m starting to have some serious doubts about the Skunk Ape. But that’s just between you and I. Don’t tell anyone else.

            1. Deal! I’d never want that legend to fade. By the way, sometime I’ll have to send you my recipe for blackened catfish (or fried) with smoked tomato, jalapeno sauce. If you like food with a kick, this is your dish. I used to sell it like crazy in my restaurant. The Skunk Ape was a regular.

              1. Contact me any time, through my info on Bookin’ It I love catfish just about any way, and I can handle a bit of kick. Sounds delicious! Got any good recipes for gumbo, that don’t include–gag, choke–okra?

                1. Haha! Our fire station is in a cook-off this June against eight other fire stations. We cam in second last year with my barbecue pulled pork. This year, I’m going with a New Orleans theme and doing gumbo. I HATE okra, and have no intention of including it in my gumbo. I had a couple of people say “It’s not gumbo without okra.” I told them that’s like saying “It’s not a tostada without Spam!” It’s my gumbo, and it will NOT have okra!

                2. Wish I knew which symbols to use for a “thumbs up smiley.” I’d give you 40 of them! Slimy and hairy combined? Who needs it? (Ummm…sorry if I just offended anyone’s true love!) I’ll vote for YOUR gumbo, any day.

  3. Classic Florida. Man-eating sinkholes, giant mosquitoes with knife-like bites and now old people and hillbillies paying for a cow to shit on their lawn.

    I need to get out of this state before the ground eats me alive.

  4. I love the Jersey Shore slam!! I’m proud to say I have never watched an episode and would prefer to dress as a cow and participate in Cow-patty bingo than sink so low as to watch that show!! (that may be a slight over-statement, but you get the idea!!) 🙂

    1. LOL! Sorry, Susan, but I’m just picturing you in a cow costume, eating bowls of granola as bingo card holders line the corral waiting for the magic moment! Hey, you got the image going 🙂 What I’m really trying to say is that I applaud you for that overstatement and the message it sends to Snookie and The Situation. (No, I’ve never seen the show either — but I do my homework 😉 )

    1. Hahaha! Between cow patty bingo, roulette and beer, we’ve got little Red Neck Las Vegas thing going on! If we could get Travis Tritt to put on a show, we’d be set!

  5. The poor cow, I can’t imagine having to poop in front of so many people, and adding the pressure of pooping in their square! I need to leave Florida! You’re right the stuff that this state produces is incredulous. My family in Chicago constantly laughs at us 😦

    1. I know what you mean. I have a hard time pooping in a stall in the men’s room. I can’t imagine what would happen if I suddenly discovered there were people betting on which stall I would pick. Talk about performance anxiety! And your family is right — leave Florida before you disappear into a giant sinkhole 😉

      1. I remember when I did my field work experience in the Andes of Peru and I couldn’t pee in the outdoors… I had to have one of the girls in my group be my pee whisperer. Even the support she provided caused anxiety. Thanks for the reminder of the sink holes! LOL. I was just getting back to normal without thinking when the earth might want its next meal 🙂

        1. Hahahaha! “Pee whisperer” I love it! And I agree with you: I think we’re all just Earth’s to-go food. Along with the cow poop, another good reason to watch your step in Florida 😉

  6. I had NEVER heard of such a thing! And I thought I had participated in ever fundraiser known to man!

    Thanks for teaching me something new today!

      1. I’m shocked that no one in our Parent-Teacher Organization has ever suggested running this particular fundraiser. Of course, cows aren’t easy to come by in these parts. One could, I’m sure, be scared up for money-making purposes, though.

        1. It’s pretty simple to do, and people seem to like it. Our Relay for Life did it last year. I have to admit, though, it was weird seeing a bunch of people standing around waiting for a cow to poop. And then the giant “uhhhh!” when those whose square was missed vocalized their disappointment — except for the lone “Yeah!” from the winner.

          1. I don’t think the venue in which they hold our “Relay for Life” would be large enough to accommodate such a game. We could change it to “Poodle Poop Bingo”. I’ll just have to insure that it isn’t placed anywhere near the “cake walk”.

            I swear to God that I am going to bring this idea to the “Relay for Life” meeting and then sit back and watch as the other folks try to come up with some very good reasons NOT to do it, while trying not to hurt my feelings or burst my bubble. It will be hysterical — for me. Yes. This is how I amuse myself at meetings.

            1. Hahaha! Sounds like a good plan that should prove very entertaining, especially if you present the idea with a lot of enthusiasm. And maybe a slide show or Powerpoint presentation. You could title it: When the Chips Are Down. Make sure to let me know how it goes! 🙂

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