Life’s question finally answered. The mystery solved. The enigma revealed.
No, Rosie O’Donnell and Monica Lewinsky are not the same person. No, “Boris Yeltsin” is not Russian for indigestion.
What I’m talking about is that I have finally discovered the one hot button for Lake Highlanders. It’s not a record $1.6 billion budget for our fair City. It’s not concern for the moral decay manifesting itself from the Oval Office to the Lincoln Bedroom.
It’s not the recurring special exemption to allow a strip joint to ply its trade in the middle of our neighborhood.
Bingo. I used to think that Bingo was the name of a farmer’s dog-o. Later in life, I thought Bingo was the name of the fifth Marx Brother. And then I played bingo at my dad’s company’s annual picnic. In fact, playing bingo for lots of neat prizes was the central event of the picnic.
But I learned on Aug. 24 at an emergency town hall meeting called by our Councilman Alan Walne that Lake Highlanders consider bingo to be a four-letter word-o.
There must have been at least 300 people jammed into the White Rock Elementary School auditorium to tell Walne, Zoning Commission member Bill Blaydes, and bingo impresario Cecile Rosenzweig exactly what they thought of Rosenzweig’s plan to move her bingo parlor into the Dollar General space at Kingsley and Audelia.
Several in the audience bluntly informed Rosenzweig that she was not welcome in Lake Highlands. One young mother pleaded for the life of her children that they might not be subjected to the drunken bingo brawlers who were certain to crash their way home after every session.
Having said that, I did find some of the comments of the bingo supporters a little inane. One assured the crowd that Rosenzweig’s is the “most family-oriented bingo parlor.”
Somewhat revealingly, Rosenzweig herself admitted she was moving to Lake Highlands because she wanted to be in a “nice neighborhood” and she did not want to be with other bingo parlors and part of the “bingo ghetto.”
Rosenzweig, under relentless pressure from the crowd, agreed to advise her customers that alcohol will be prohibited in her parlor. But the real objection to Lake Highlanders apparently was the under-the-radar process that enabled the bingo parlor to set up shop in our neighborhood without anyone knowing about it.
I’ll have to admit that, in the past, bingo has always had a good connotation to me. I’ll also have to admit that I have always assumed that modern bingo parlors are typically patronized by middle-class, retired women with beehive hairdos and Sherman tanks for cars. They are a hazard – but not because of too much elderberry wine.
I’ll also have to admit that I would rather not have a bingo parlor in our shopping center. But do you blame the owner of the shopping center, whose choices have been between Dollar General and nothing? Shopping centers at Kingsley and Audelia, at Northlake, and at Shoreview need to be razed and replaced. Where are the Home Depots, the Wal-Marts, the Targets?
Somehow we need to reinvent Lake Highlands retail. Until we do, we are likely to be confronted with more bingo parlors, pawnshops and strip joints.