Your brain on the 'Cash Cab' diet - Shawn Loughlin editorial
Shawn here, again. Surely mine is the face that readers with concerns over the politics shared on pages four and five or those who question the “editorial direction” of The Citizen want to see on this page for a second time, but alas, here we are and you’re stuck with me for the next few hundred words (certainly more space to fill than I have on the far right of this page - I don’t know how Keith and Denny do it).
It’s true - Keith was a bit under the weather this week and was unable to fill the space with the usual thought-provoking wisdom for which he is known, so it was necessary to improvise and employ a last-second replacement. Truly this is a good thing, though. All joking aside from the previous paragraph about the grumblers (there will always be grumblers), it’s good that I have this extra space with you, because I’ve never been so smart.
Not in the Fredo Corleone in The Godfather Part II way either (“I can handle things! I’m smart! Not like everyone says... like dumb. I’m smart and I want respect!”). Actually smart. And for a very specific reason: I’ve been watching a lot of Cash Cab.
Yes, that’s right. The trivia-based game show that happens in a legitimate Toronto taxi cab (one season is in Vancouver) is on TV at my house many hours of the day. Not around the clock, but certainly while the sun is out.
My daughter loves it. Only 16 months old and she’s hooked on trivia. No doubt it’s the flashing lights, fun sounds and (mostly) happy people on the show (unless she’s really brushing up on her Toronto street geography), but it’s good that she’s showing an interest in something on TV that’s based in knowledge.
The street geography of Toronto has been helpful for me (I’ve come to realize that I really remember a lot more of the city than I thought I did), but the random tidbits of information I’ve picked up along the way have been the real takeaway from this time.
I’ve learned all about geography (real geography, not just the bars and restaurants of Toronto), history, science and even about music, theatre and movies. It’s almost like going back to school. Surely this knowledge is bound to pay off some day in some very specific scenario.
As for Tallulah’s viewing habits, it wasn’t always this way. When she was a very tiny baby, snoozing away in her Mamaroo (a hammock-like seat that moves, sways and makes sounds that was perfect to lull her to sleep and free us up to do other tasks around the house), we used to watch all manner of television that wouldn’t be appropriate for her now. (We concluded a rewatch of The Sopranos - better than I remembered it - and Breaking Bad - worse than I remembered it - in those very early months.)
Then, once she started rolling and crawling around, Tallulah became more aware of what was on the TV screen, if anything, and began asking for the TV to be on. She doesn’t even really seem to watch it that much, it’s almost as if she likes having it on in the background.
She’d ask us to put it on by pointing at the TV. In those early days, we’d just put on whatever we wanted to watch, thinking that she didn’t really care too much about what was on, aside from it being interesting to the eye.
In her younger days, she seemed to like sports on big green fields, like soccer and football. She even came around on baseball as the Toronto Blue Jays wrapped up their push for the playoffs. However, we started noticing her really coming alive when Cash Cab was on the TV, so we started putting it on for her and we quickly found that she loved it. So, no cartoons at the Loughlin house on Saturday mornings yet (though we have tried), only Cash Cab. (Her favourite part is the video bonus question at the end - for those of you who watch - where contestants play double-or-nothing with their winnings, but only if they get it right. She loves that song. Though, it also gives us hope for Tallulah’s future because she seems to be happy when other people are happy.)
Anyway, back to how smart I am. Certainly all of this Cash Cab knowledge will aid me in my work here at The Citizen. I mean, how can it not? Knowing the colours of the Olympic rings or that a Black Velvet is a mix of dark stout beer (like Guinness) and Champagne has to pay off somewhere down the road.
Even if I’m never able to employ one of the factoids I have learned from Cash Cab, I think watching it with my daughter has paid off. (Funny story: in Grade 11 English, my teacher wrote a bit of information on the blackboard under the heading of “Factoid” and I gave her a hard time for her use of a weird word I’d never heard before. Well, when that bit of business was on the next test and I got it wrong, she made sure that I knew.) Anyway, just as Tallulah was learning how to hug, putting Cash Cab on the TV was the first thing that consistently gets me an honest-to-God hug from her, so I can thank it for that.