Tuesday, July 8, 2008


We're a puzzle family. We have one on the table in various stages of completion. I was thrifting with XM Radio Guy yesterday after our lunch (the BEST, Jerry!) and picked up a new puzzle to start with Mum. [Side note here: I also found an NSync picture frame that I presented to XM Radio Guy as we said good-bye. It was like Xmas at lunch; he gave me some fab PacMan pillow cases and some newagey chakra music from the station, & the first season of The Sarah Silverman Show].

Back to puzzles: whenever I think of puzzles now, I remember a visit from a member of my husband's family. It was v. early on in our married life. She & her husband came to visit for the weekend. We had gotten a puzzle. It started out with all of us, along with the nieces. By the end of the weekend it was finished.

This is what I like about puzzles: looking at the picture (always pretty) and finding the pieces. It's a leisurely task; you can find a piece or two while waiting for your water for tea to boil. Last night I put the border pieces together. It's a great metaphor for life: the whole is greater than the parts of the sum, there's a place for everything, etc. Leisurely, pleasant, fun-- unless the Puzzle Nazi is involved. We've got to get this puzzle finished! Come over here and get this done! Nothing like making a game mandatory to suck out the fun.

It was interesting watching her because she would get angry at these bits of cardboard if they didn't fit together because they should. And then she would force them together. When I would find a couple pieces wedged together and unstick them, she'd say, They were supposed to go together. Really? Because they don't. The other thing she did was that whatever area someone else was working on, she would take over. By the end of the weekend, it was the two of us in a race to finish the puzzle [Shut up about the puzzle, it's just a game...OMG, does this mean she's coming back next weekend if we don't finish it???]. So we finished it. In the middle of the Almighty Football Game, she insisted that her husband help frame the puzzle to preserve it forever. Yikes.

Harv Eker says, How you do anything is how you do everything.

My brother, a.k.a. Mensa Guy, would give prospective employees a puzzle to solve as part of their interview. You can tell so much about a person by how they approach a puzzle, he says. Yes, you can. It's not how long before you solve it, but how many tries do you take? How do you react emotionally? Do you give up? Do you ask for help or do you have to know it all? Do you try to force things to fit together that don't?

But then, a puzzle is just a game, right?

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