When I was a kid, I used to wonder if I could have a job putting together puzzles. I imagined taking part in competitions where I raced against other puzzle-putter-togetherers for both speed and efficiency. Nowadays, there are apps on the phone I carry in my purse that keep track of such things and, should I care to look, would tell me how I rank among the world’s best.
I don’t check those stats very often — (although I absolutely love it when I can shave another second off my best time in Solitaire!) — and I’m guessing I wouldn’t stack up too well these days being both out of practice and in ever-increasing need of my reading glasses.
But I can still see my favorite puzzle from those days of long ago. It was a kids puzzle and featured cartoon drawings of sea creatures. The absolute best was the whale, blowing his little spout of water, happy as a lark. He’s one of my oldest friends.
I like puzzles because they allow me to figure things out. It’s the same reason I like math. There’s a right answer, something you can check against the answer guide in the back of the book or against the picture on the box lid. Sometimes I wish there were more things in life like that.