I was watching Dora the Explorer this morning with mini-Melmoth; she seems to like it. I watch because I’m a parent and it’s my job to know everything about my child’s favourite TV program, teddy, toy, colour, clothes, hairstyle – the list goes on. That’s my excuse, anyway.

This particular episode had Dora and the somewhat confusingly named Boots the monkey looking for the big piñata at the fairground. To get to it they needed to acquire ten yellow tickets by playing various fairground games, the first of which was a very simple stall which required you to shoot a water gun into the mouth of dolphins. It was easily done and over quickly and earned Dora and company two yellow tickets.

The next event was the Ferris wheel, which would (somewhat backwardly) earn them a number of tickets for riding on it. But – oh no! – the Ferris wheel was broken and Dora and Boots had to help the Spanish-speaking toucan repair the wheel first by replacing the long and short parts. This took some time because the toucan had kept his Ferris wheel in considerably poor repair and should probably have been reported to the authorities, but our naive adventurers ignored health and safety regulations and risked all for some more tickets by repairing it themselves. They got their ride, and were rewarded with two more yellow tickets.

“You know,” I said, turning to my daughter “they’d have been much better off grinding out that first dolphin game; they’d have completed it four more times in the time it took to get just two tickets from the Ferris wheel. Admittedly they had fun riding the Ferris wheel, but if they optimised their Reward vs Time Investment they’d already by getting phat loot from the big piñata”.

She looked at me uncomprehendingly, as eighteen month olds are wont to do, and made a couple of loud, possibly derogatory, sucks on her dummy.

“One day you’ll understand”, I said.

“But not too soon, I hope.”

Posted by Melmoth at 8:36 am