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February 5, 2012 Click here to mail this page to a friend.
Ignoring Clint Eastwood's advice in "Dirty Harry" that opinions, like certain body parts, are best kept to yourself.
Playing 'Cash Cab' with the grandkids

Unassuming people getting in the ''Cash Cab'' are shocked when they discover they're contestants on a television game show.Recently, my wife and I started watching the Discovery Channel show 'Cash Cab'. It comes on right after the required Senior viewing of 'Wheel of Fortune' on a local station. If you haven't seen this show, a New York City taxi is equipped with hidden cameras and flashing lights, and unsuspecting cab patrons are challenged to play a game of general knowledge during the ride. Miss three questions, the cab stops and riders are kicked out, but they can win several hundred bucks. When stumped, a mobile phone or street 'shout-out' for help is allowed.

This weekend, Hazel and I went to grade school basketball games with some of our grandchildren, and afterwards, we stopped for lunch before taking them home. Whatever reminded me of the show, I'm not sure, but as I was driving I said to the three little girls in the back seat, "Ok kids, you're in the 'Cash Cab', wanna play?" "Yeahhhh!!!" they all shouted, so my wife and I had to quickly think up some questions that kids 6 to 9 years of age might know.

"For 25 cents," my wife said, "who is Justin Bieber's girlfriend?" "Selena Gomez!" they all shouted. I was still about 3 miles from home, and I realized this might get a little expensive. "Ok", I said, here's your next question, In 1941, the Japanese attacked our naval fleet at Pearl Harbor, what state is Pearl Harbor in?" The three little girls looked at each other, now I had them. "Louisiana!" one of them said. "Oh, wrong, it was Hawaii... that's one strike, two more and I'll have to stop and kick you out." The chorus in the backseat responded with "WHAT???" "Ron", my wife said, "we're not going to kick these kids out on this busy street." "Grampa was just kidding, kids ... Ron, they wouldn't know anything about World War Two!" "Hazel", I said, "I have to throw in some hard ones, or this this going to cost me a fortune."

There was silence in the back seat, evidently they were counting on getting a fortune.

A few more easier questions, including another strike, and we arrived at my daughter's home to drop the kids off. I was on the hook for $2.50. "Ok kids, here's the deal, I've got your two and a half bucks right here, I can give it to you now, or you can risk it all and go double or nothing on a current events question." They wanted to go double or nothing. At their age, they either didn't know about the bird in the hand, or they sensed Grampa wasn't going to screw them out of the money. "Ok, here's the question," I said, "tomorrow is the Super Bowl, who are the two football teams that will be playing in the game?"

They didn't have a clue, time was running out, it looked bad. Hazel said, "Why don't you use your mobile shout-out and call your Mom?" The 9 year old whipped out her cell phone. (A 9 year old has a cell phone??)

"Hello Mom? We're in the 'Cash Cab' and need your help ... which teams are playing in the Super Bowl?" A pause. "The Patriots and the Giants!"

I handed a five dollar bill into the back seat.

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