August 19, 2013

August 19, 2013

Sorry I Missed It: The Cube

Speaking multiple languages is an admirable skill, and one Americans don’t seem to be all that excited about. Shame, because companies, non-profits, and even Cabinet-Department-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named are willing to pay big bucks to people who speak Mandarin, or Arabic, or Korean.

(So, no, that year of Spanish in high school may not get you as far as you’d hoped. Je suis desolée, vraiment.)

But you do have a passport, right? I was reminded yesterday that two thirds* of Americans do not have a passport. That is a solid majority of people who have refused to get the coolest form of ID available to those of us not in the Presidential line of succession. I mean, how many times have you seen James Bond whip out a driver’s license? Or Jason Bourne pull out a safety deposit box filled with baptismal certificates? I’m just saying.

Until you’ve mastered Turkish or Pashto, then, consider checking out one of my favorite game shows, “The Cube.” Contestants get nine lives to complete seven deceptively simple tasks. They might have to stack some blocks move balls from one bucket to another. The top prize in the UK version is £250,000—nothing to sneeze at. So why hasn’t this show churned out dozens of quarter-millionaires?

Because sometimes the easiest things to explain are the hardest to do.

The games test different types of skill. Some require dexterity. Others, fast reflexes. I myself would excel at the memory games but would completely suck at anything involving a ball flying at my head. A lifetime of wearing glasses has developed in me a crippling fear of objects flying anywhere near my facial area. You know those t-shirt cannons at baseball games? GAH.

YouTube has a few full episodes of the UK show, as well as the French and Russian editions. (And possibly more, but I’ve concentrated on those versions because I speak of bit of French and TheBoy knows his Russian.) Consider them immersion courses. Once you’re familiar with how the show works, you really don’t need to fully understand what’s being said.

* +1 if you can explain why I did not hyphenate that fraction.

0 Fish in a Sea of Diet Coke: