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Thoughts For Thursday: Lessons Learned From Drag Queen Bingo

January 6, 2011 · 120 comments

in Thoughts For Thursday, Work

We all have dreams in the back of our minds.  If I could do anything in the world I wanted, I would get paid to travel the world and taste-test the hot chocolate served at various cafes by the ocean.  More realistically, I would love to be a highly-paid writer, but I would also want more interaction with people too.   Anyway, I have written in the past about trying to love what you do vs. doing what you love.  In a realistic world, it probably is more practical to try and like what you do if you are not in the financial position to turn in your laptop and tell the boss ‘see ya later’.  However, there is definitely a place for trying to do what you love too.

But, if you are financially able to go out on your own, I am telling you to go chase your dreams!  (After you write a solid business plan that is.)  I had an experience a few months ago that taught me that any career is possible.  Let me share the story…

A friend of mine asked me if I liked to play Bingo.  I had only been to an actual Bingo Hall once in my life, and it was so smoky that I never went back.  However, you can’t smoke in public places in Michigan anymore, so I said I would like to play.   I soon found out that this was not going to be an ordinary bingo though, as this was “Drag Queen Bingo”.  (Fortunately, it wasn’t the participants that were required to dress in drag, but it was the Bingo Caller.)

The event takes place weekly in a cafe in a local city.  You can bring your own food and drinks, which was quite a feature in my opinion. You paid 20 bucks for a bingo card and had one of the most unique experiences of your life.

The Drag Queen Bingo Caller was seated on a little stage calling numbers, while speaking the most foul language I have probably ever heard in my life.  It was a little nerve wracking because he would also pick out members of the audience and make general commentary about their appearance and whatnot. Fortunately, I was under the radar and was never singled out.  If you got a Bingo, you went up to the stage and received a mug with a foul saying on it along with an equally inappropriate T-shirt.

We played for a couple hours, and then it was over.  I won nothing, but I did have a really interesting time.  During one of the breaks, I had a conversation with the Bingo Caller. He told me Drag Queen Bingo Calling was his full time job, and that he travels all over the country calling bingo numbers.  Who would have ever thought such a job even existed or was possible??  I know I didn’t.  He seemed to be having the time of his life, and supporting himself financially just fine.

So the lesson in all of this is:  You just never know what is possible if you never try. If you have a dream, you may be able to make it happen with the right attitude and determination.  Don’t just dismiss your dream because it may be hard to achieve. If you really want something, see if you can get it.  Of course, be financially responsible in the process…

What would be your dream job if you could pick anything in the world??

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{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

The Biz of Life January 6, 2011 at 8:00 am

Well, it certainly wouldn’t be a Drag Queen Bingo Caller. I like to create things, so my dream job (if I could make any money doing it) would be as a writer of fiction and non-fiction or a painter. But so far my services in these areas have not been in great demand.


Kris January 6, 2011 at 2:58 pm

Biz, why do you think you cannot do it? Have you tried to market yourself? You just never know my friend….


101 Centavos January 6, 2011 at 8:19 am

Who woulda thunk that someone would have a dream of one day being a Drag Queen Bingo Caller? I heard of a restaurant in Rome (I forge the name) where the waiters intentionally hurl the most abusive insults at customers, in humorous and scathing Roman dialect. Allegedly there’s always a waiting list on reservations.
My dream job right now today is to be a full-time gardener, but like Biz, there’s not great demand for my services (yet).


Kris January 6, 2011 at 2:46 pm

101 – I would have a hard time visiting that restaurant in Rome! I just cannot stand being the center of attention at all – especially negatively!

I had a feeling you might pick gardener as your chosen profession. Maybe you could open a greenhouse or something on your land?


101 Centavos January 7, 2011 at 7:47 am

You’re reading my mind. A greenhouse is definitely in the works, perhaps for the fall or next year. In the meantime, this spring I’ll probably set up a mini-hoophouse over one of the 4×8 beds in the back yard.


Nicole January 6, 2011 at 8:38 am

It’s still read the novels and watch the anime that I want to watch whenever I want without having to write reviews on them or anything.

Here’s our emergency back up jobs post, in case this whole academic thing doesn’t work out: http://nicoleandmaggie.wordpress.com/2010/08/10/emergency-back-up-job/


Kris January 6, 2011 at 2:50 pm

Maybe you can be novel reading-anime watching-math teaching-library shelvers all in one career?

Create a market, and maybe the patrons will come…


Nicole January 6, 2011 at 3:01 pm

the math teaching library shelving thing is realistic (not so much a dream career)

I try and try the lying on the couch reading books and watching anime thing and so far nobody has bit.


First Gen American January 6, 2011 at 9:27 am

By the way, great catchy title. I just wish you had a picture to post.

I really do want to seriously start thinking about this. I have this dream to someday change careers and do something that totally uses the other side of my brain. Go from engineer to party planner or writer or something, although most would argue that the most talented technical people do use both all the time. I’m not sure what would be practical given my location and personal life. Party planner would be fun, but then I’d have to spend my weekends working which wouldn’t bode well for the family or marriage.

I think the issue is that most people say they want to be a musician or writer, but don’t put any time into actually starting the dream to see if they actually enjoy it. Some people might start writing and decide it’s sheer drudgery and have writer’s block all the time.


Nicole January 6, 2011 at 10:55 am

My sister is an engineer at a huge international company that grooms their employees by having them do many different tasks across the company. Party planner (organizing annual company parties) has actually been one of her job duties (I think two bosses and two raises ago).


First Gen American January 6, 2011 at 4:44 pm

Nicole Funny…I did this too. I wonder if we were at the same conglomerate? I did a 2 year training program and then did a rotating quality consulting thing for another 2 years. I’ve also organized parties, charity events. It’s strongly encouraged that you volunteer your time and money for certain things as well. Some people resented the big brother forced charity thing, but I’ve actually gotten into it as a result.


Kris January 6, 2011 at 3:02 pm

Sandy, That is what I like about blogging. It is kind of a middle ground. I love it, but part of what I enjoy is the interacting with people like yourself. If I was writing a book, I would have to find a way to still get out there and socialize.

I never thought I would be a technical person, but I spent my whole morning testing my latest computer program. (Riveting, I know.) To be honest, I didn’t know another side of my brain existed until I started writing. I love logic, I love math, but I also love to chat!

Have you thought of thinking what you really want to do and writing a business plan for it to see what the market would be, start up costs, etc? You can always look into it on the side while you have your current job. Talk with your spouse and see if there is something he is interested in too and you could support each other. Heck, bring Babci into the loop and she can sell golf-club-tomato-stakes as part of the business.

By the way, I know a picture would have been great, but that photo resides on a phone that is dead and gone unfortunately. You can google Drag Queen Bingo and get plenty of info though. I bet they even have a place near you somewhere.


First Gen American January 6, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Yes, I would definitely like to do that but I keep coming up with excuses why things won’t work. I should just start brainstorming stuff. The cream rises and eventually there should be something good that comes from the ideas. I work best when I’m around another creative person, ideally someone who thinks differently from me. I guess there is a lot out there to choose from and narrowing the scope is part of what needs to be done.


DoNotWait January 6, 2011 at 10:23 am

A drag queen bingo caller! My, my, what a show it must have been! I doubt he is truly living his dream though. He probably dreamed of living from his drag queen, but certainly not as a bingo caller! Anyways, if he loves it, good for him!

It takes balls to follow our dreams. And also, unfortunately, often a lot of money. When I was young, I mean like 5-6 years old, I told everyone that one day I’d be rich, have a big but not so luxurious house with many cars (a limo was in the list!), lots of horses, plenty of kids running around (5 to be more precised) as well as dogs and cats. The thing is I never thought on how I would get there. As I am older (but still not too old), I realize what all of this would imply. I already have a house close to what I was dreaming of as a child, although not as big and on a small land with no horses and only one “real” car. I am still expecting to have a lot of kids and I still love horses. But how would I be able to move on a bigger land, buy horses, have plenty of kids, taking care of all this and not end up bankrupt? The truth is I have no idea!


Kris January 6, 2011 at 3:08 pm

Leaving oceans and hot chocolate aside, my life is already better than I ever thought it would be, so I am happy as a clam. However, I do still have my dreams for the future. Who knows, when I retire, maybe I will want to live in New York City.

You can make your dream of kids and horses still happen if you want it badly enough. You just may end up with a long commute to work or some other tradeoff. I guess life is full of big tradeoffs now that I think about it. The housing market is great for buyers, so maybe something is out there waiting for you? (Regarding the kids, well that is a different story…)


Crystal @ BFS January 6, 2011 at 10:51 am

We talked about this before and every time you mention it, I really want to go! I need to see if there is drag queen bingo around me anywhere…

My dream job would be blogging full time, and I’m working on it. 🙂


Kris January 6, 2011 at 3:10 pm

Crystal, I know it is in Houston,so I am sure it is in many places near you. I googled it and it is all over the place where I live, and I had no idea.

Your dream will come true is my prediction!


retirebyforty January 6, 2011 at 11:30 am

Woo hoo!! Follow your dreams, but have a big cushion and a back up plan. That’s what I’m trying to do. I’m not shooting the drag queen gig though. 🙂


Kris January 6, 2011 at 3:11 pm

I you change your mind and become a drag queen after all, just make sure you shave really well.

I know you have a great plan, one to envy as a matter of fact. It will be great to hear it all unfold.


MoneyCone January 6, 2011 at 11:32 am

Wow! Didn’t know there was something like this! Agree with FGA, a picture would’ve been super!


Kris January 6, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Sorry for the lack of picture. It is on my dead-phone. Feel free to Google and you will find plenty!


krantcents January 6, 2011 at 12:32 pm

I am doing my dream jobs! I teach Business and Computers in high school and write for my blog. I get to change people’s lives by influencing their choices, interact with interesting people and hopefully have a lasting effect on a growing group of people.


Kris January 6, 2011 at 3:12 pm

That is fantastic Krantcents! You are in a position that few are. How great you teach such important subjects, I am sure you are a huge influence on those kids.

Thanks for doing what you do.


krantcents January 6, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Thanks, I try to teach them skills that are beneficial for them, although they do not realize it. Compared to my former career as a CFO, this is fun!


retirebyforty January 6, 2011 at 4:00 pm

I think that’s great!!! So many kids will remember you.


krantcents January 6, 2011 at 4:42 pm

Unfortunately, I don’t get as much feedback as I would like, although I can tell when I get through to them.


Jaymus (RealizedReturns) January 6, 2011 at 1:12 pm

Drag & Bingo. What a funny story. I never would have guess such a thing existed.. but I could see how it would be oddly entertaining.


Kris January 6, 2011 at 3:17 pm

Jaymus, it is odd, and it is entertaining. Heck just to people watch the audience was worth the price of admission.

It is shocking how widespread Drag Queen Bingo really is. I had no idea until I actually went. You should google just to see if it is near you. I don’t know where you live, but I bet you could find it somewhere in the state. Not that you need to track it down, but just to see how popular it really seems to be.


Lola January 6, 2011 at 1:30 pm

I had never heard of drag queen bingo, so I couldn’t resist a little googling on the term – turns out there are many hits for it. One of the top hits is a big TIME magazine web article from 2007 – clearly I have not kept up with trends in bingo! Put DQB in google images, and you’ll find lots of interesting photos.

I’ve had a couple of jobs I did not like at all, but the last few jobs have been dreamy enough. I liked serving as family CEO for a number of years – that was definitely my favorite and I did an awesome job. My current job is really great, too – it’s very meaningful work with a lot of variety, I love the people I work with, we have a beautiful facility, etc. It’s not big bucks for sure, but it has some unusual perks, including more than average days off and travel opportunities, so the combination of time, travel, and money is very fair.

I guess my ultimate dream job would be performing in The Thea-tuh, but that would mean 1) I had that kind of talent and 2) I had a personal hypnotist to treat me for stage fright every few scenes. I think I could be a really good extra, especially if there’s a surge in demand for a “nondescript-mom-type,” so I may follow that star yet!


Kris January 6, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Lola, I saw that Time article too. It truly is a fun event, I just couldn’t do it every week. I also would probably die if he singled me out and started ripping on me. It is a pretty inexpensive night where we went since you could provide your own food and drink. One of those things that is fine to try at least once. Our drag queen even ran out of the cafe and started running down the street trying to talk to some conservative looking people. He wasn’t warmly received.

I bet you could get over your stage fright. Have you tried trying–out for roles in the local thea-tuh? It would be fun to try. Have a quick glass of wine right before you go on stage and all will be good. I am glad you like your real job though. Money is not everything, that is for sure.


Suba @ Wealth Informatics January 6, 2011 at 4:58 pm

I have never heard of a Drag queen bingo caller before. I have been living under the rock I suppose, there are so many hits in google and this is the first time I am hearing it!! My dream job would be to work in a mentally challenged facility. My husband would like to build things, invent (which sometime gets on my nerves)…


Kris January 7, 2011 at 4:36 pm

I hadn’t heard of it before either Suba.

Your goal of working with the mentally challenged is an admirable one. The world needs more Subas.

Enjoy your husband’s need to build. Just come up with creative things he can make for around the house.


Deidre @ TransFormX January 6, 2011 at 7:11 pm

Drag Queen Bingo….wow.! Who would have thought? I cannot quite picture that. Great story though!


Kris January 7, 2011 at 4:36 pm

Deidre- you can picture it easily. They have a facebook page and there are millions of articles about it. I think you should try and go – see if it is near you!


Jacq @ Single Mom Rich Mom January 6, 2011 at 9:31 pm

I for one would like to be a drag queen bingo caller. Can you do that if you’re a woman? My dream job would be to work for The Onion – they just give out a title and then you write an article according to the title.


Kris January 7, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Jacq, maybe you could dress in drag as a man, apply for the job, then dress as yourself to do bingo calling? You may have to spice up your vocabulary a bit though. (Or maybe not, hee hee)

Working for the Onion would be a blast. Can I work with you?


Jacq @ Single Mom Rich Mom January 7, 2011 at 9:55 pm

Oh, my vocabulary IRL is plenty spicy… but you knew that!
If we worked together, you wouldn’t have to eavesdrop in Starbucks (loved that post BTW), plenty of spicy gossip to go around…


Joe Plemon January 7, 2011 at 10:25 am

I would help people with their finances (setting up budgets, creating a plan to help them meet their goals, etc) and write about finances and people. Spend time with my children and grandchildren. Maybe partner with my son on a house flip. Take a couple of vacations a year. Oh wait. I am already doing that. Fortunately, I have enough retirement income (coupled with zero debt) to allow me to pretty much do what I want. If I am not following my dreams, it is my own fault!


Kris January 8, 2011 at 9:20 am

What a great comment Joe. Isn’t the freedom from having zero debt and having enough retirement income a wonderful thing? I am not there yet, but it is a goal. I would also love to flip a house, but I need to get my current house in order first!

I think helping people with their finances would also be a wonderful thing. One thing I have found though is that people need to WANT to make adjustments, or it is like talking to a rock.


beth January 8, 2011 at 11:39 am

Is love to live in either France or the Caribbean and run a cafe. I actually met a guy from ny who did this and had his cafe on St. Thomas. Unfortunately, I don’t think his business did so well or he missed the city, because when I saw him a year or so later he wanted to sell his cafe.


everyday tips January 8, 2011 at 11:55 am

I like your dream Beth! I wonder what happened to your friend’s cafe. Did he live down there? Can you get it for cheap and move south? 🙂

Watching House Hunters International always makes me want to move near nice clear water and roam the beaches. I don’t think I can get paid to do that either.


Len Penzo January 8, 2011 at 12:57 pm

What an outstanding post, Kris! Very inspirational. Still, I don’t have the courage to quit my everyday job to make a go at blogging. Yet. 🙂

All the best,

Len Penzo dot Com


Kris January 8, 2011 at 2:43 pm

Thanks Len. You don’t have to quit today, but you could always put a plan in place for whatever your dream is. If blogging is your dream, I totally think you could do it. You have a great site and a strong fan base.


ODWO January 8, 2011 at 2:33 pm

You said, “… So the lesson in all of this is: You just never know what is possible if you never try. …”

I say, “BINGO” …. because you never know what is possible until you finally try!

recently saw these 2 quotes and your post fits it to a “T”:

“Some of the world’s greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were impossible.” Doug Larson

“We would accomplish many more things if we did not think of them as impossible.” Vince Lombardi (say that one again … many, many more …)

BTW: I think Bingo is a lot of fun. Some of the “characters” one sees at the Bingo Halls are worth writing a story about. Thank god for the no smoking ord’s in cities. (Gasp, Gasp, Cough-Cough!)

Nice post! Too bad you couldn’t get a pix’ to go with the post.


Kris January 8, 2011 at 3:20 pm

I know, I wish I had a pic too! 🙁

My first time in a Bingo hall was incredibly eye opening. All the trinkets people had for luck, some people trying to play with 9 cards. All the gizmos for marking cards. It is something you have to do at least once in your life!


ODWO January 8, 2011 at 2:55 pm

Ooops. Almost forgot …

After going to a couple of Bingo halls in “our area” … and doing a head count, figuring the revenues (Cash!) brought in, and estimating what was paid out (prizes, hourly wages, hall expenses, etc, etc, etc, …) … and beginning to wonder if a Bingo hall would/could be a dream job .. as the owner, that is. I estimate that one hall in our area makes around $1000-$2000+ a night .. AFTER everything, and that’s being overly generous on the payouts and what their out-costs are. Just the number of people who come “everyday” and the number of cards people play, then add in a small restaurant serving burgers and soft drinks, and beer …. and now multiply that number by 6 days a week, then multiply it by 52 weeks a year …. and that number is after the bills, and charity (as req’d in our state) donations of 1/2 revenues generated, salaries, everything(!) is paid out. Wow! Not bad for a 6 hr. gig, per night. Bingo takes around 3-4 hrs to do all games in our area. I figure another 1-3 hrs for opening, bookwork, and closing.

Of course, I’m probably not smart enough to know that (or listen to others who say) “you can’t do that, ODWO!!” (LOL)

Happy Saturday! >:


Kris January 8, 2011 at 3:22 pm

Hey, maybe you just found a whole new dream. ‘Daily Bingo Featuring ODWO’.

I had no idea they were so profitable. I wonder if bingo attendance has gone down where I live since they banned smoking in public places.

Happy Saturday to you too!


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