I just wanted a minute

It is easy to scramble a Rubik’s cube.  And harder to solve it.

(This is a story is a metaphor, I don’t care about your puzzle prowess, nor that of your genius nephew.)

When you buy a Rubik’s cube, it’s solved.  All the colors match, the stickers are on tight, and the joints are not loose from having been taken apart and put back together.  It’s new.  It’s perfect.

Of course, you know it’s a puzzle.  It was built to confound you, and after a certain amount of effort and thought, you’re supposed to think your way through the scramble and derive satisfaction from finally solving it.  Many people do it, some take longer than others.

So here I was with my new, perfect Rubik’s cube, barely out of the packaging.   And then somebody snatches it out of my hands, and scrambles it.  Why?  “Because that’s what it’s for… because it’s fun to solve.”  Here, I’ll turn my back, scramble it, and hand it back to you.  I’m helping.

So now it’s back in my hand, and the person is watching me intently to see if I have the talent to unscramble it in the next 30 seconds.

The answer is no I can’t.  It’s a new toy to me, a new puzzle.  I just took it out of the packaging and you snatched it away from me.  It’s easy to scramble it, it’s harder to solve.  Seriously, right out of the packaging.  Before I’ve made a single turn, someone snatched it, scrambled it, and is now watching me try to solve it.

You know, I know they were only trying to help.  But really, I just wish I could have had a minute, just one minute to look at this object, figure out how it moves, think about which side is up, to contemplate the perfection… just, that’s what I do.  Perhaps I enjoy things differently than you do, but you know, it is mine.

And not yours.  If you want one too, there are plenty more at the store.

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