Smile Politely

Springtime strolling BINGO (aka SPRINGO)

As the weather slowly and sporadically gets warmer (no, I do not want to talk about the snow we got this week), I’ve been trying to take daily walks. Springtime stolls are great, but wandering around the same neighborhoods every day does get somewhat stale. I’ve decided to spice things up by playing BINGO on my walks. I constructed a whole springtime BINGO (SPRINGO if you will) with a bunch of sights and happenings you might encounter on a walk in the peaceful streets of Chambana.

You can play too! Just follow this link to get your own personalized online SPRINGO card. It works pretty well on mobile, but if you’re a luddite you can print it out also.

As you walk, keep track of your sightings and if you get five in a row you win! Um, you don’t really win anything though, other than the prize of spending time outside and being somewhat aware of your surroundings. When you win, I guess just yell “SPRINGO” and then your walk can be over if you want.

Here’s a sample SPRINGO card:


(SPRINGO images were all stolen from the internet. I’m a monster, I’m sorry)

And here’s the breakdown of all the SPRINGO options as some of them might require further explanation. Also some boxes have the possibility of awarding BONUS POINTS! (Please do not ask me how bonus points work, I’m not some bingo nerd.)

  • Yard waste in yard waste bags (they gotta be real bags made for yard waste or it don’t count)

Two brown paper lawn waste bags are sitting on a patch of grass. One is ripped and you can see the contents. Photo by Tom Ackerman.Photo by Tom Ackerman.

  • Two or more squirrels absolutely FROLICKING
  • A large branch brought down by wind (We haven’t had a real major wind storm this spring, but there’s still naturally felled branches around for you to find.)
  • Tiny flowers of two different colors in close proximity (By this I mean like wildflowers or blossoming weeds or whatever, not flowers in a cultivated garden. Bonus points for three or more colors of wildflowers in close proximity!)

A patch of grass has several white, purple, and yellow flowers interspersed. Photo by Tom Ackerman. Photo by Tom Ackerman.

  • Some litter (You only get to check off this box if you pick up the piece of litter and dispose of it appropriately. Doesn’t mean you gotta grab every bit of litter you see, but if we all picked up one piece of litter on each of our walks, Chambana would be somewhat prettier.)
  • Fallen Magnolia petals (Magnolia trees are some of the most beautiful trees to see in spring, but they immediately drop their petals all over the sidewalk. Only mark this box complete if you not only see fallen Magnolia petals, but step directly on them)

A sidewalk and lined by grass and the base of a tree. It is covered in fallen pink and white magnolia petals. Photo by Tom Ackerman.Photo by Tom Ackerman.

  • Somebody attempting to start a lawnmower (Seeing somebody clearly doing lawnmower maintenance is also acceptable here.)
  • Some fool wearing a full winter coat (even though it’s a balmy and beautiful 54 degrees out)
  • Some fool wearing shorts (even though it’s a frigid and punishing 54 degrees out)
  • Dog takin’ a dump (Just seeing some dog doo isn’t enough here. You gotta catch a dog in the act. And if their owner doesn’t pick up after the dog you gotta berate them, that’s just standard SPRINGO rules.)
  • Somebody wearing Illini swag
  • Construction workers seemingly not doing anything
  • A hammock (either occupied or empty)
  • Slowpoke tree that ain’t got leaves back yet
  • Three or more bros/frat boys cruising in a Jeep Wrangler (or similar vehicle with the top and/or doors removed)
  • Election signs for a local election that already happened
  • Bird freakin’ YELLING about something (To consistently check this box, I recommend walking at like 6:15 a.m. right outside my bedroom window)
  • Wasps, ugh
  • Witness a car go over an unsettlingly big pothole
  • A yard that really desperately needs to be mowed
  • A child holding a stick (This one may seem oddly specific, but I swear over 70% of children I see walking are holding sticks.)
  • FOR RENT sign in front of a house
  • Political sign or bumper sticker that you disagree with (We still live in a highly polarized nation. It’s important to be reminded of that while you’re on a pleasant stroll.)
  • REAL BIG FLOWERS (If you gotta ask if a flower is big enough it probably isn’t.)
  • FREE (You don’t have to do or see anything to mark the free space. I’m a benevolent guy.)

Good luck out there readers!

Top photo by Tom Ackerman.

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