I have been ordered to It was gently suggested by a friend that in the wake of the giant bedroom project and the midst of finishing up writing a book with Kit Perez that I not plunge directly into anything creatively demanding.
In other words: “Waste some time; it’ll recharge your creative batteries.”
Lazy though I am, I’m very poor at free-form relaxation. I natter on about how I’d love to sit on a beach in Tahiti sipping a mai tai while Tuki Brando fans me with a palm frond. But truth is, I wouldn’t enjoy that a bit.* I have to be doing something even if it’s something dumb.
Last week I stumbled across this for $0.50 at a thrift store. It’s not a “real” jigsaw puzzle, but apparently one that somebody ordered from Shutterfly of their retriever. Such a photogenic pooch. I don’t do puzzles. Probably haven’t since I was 10 years old. But hey. A dog. And $0.50
On Saturday — with the wind howling, rain pouring, and my out-of-town plans cancelled — I started putting it together. Blindingly tedious thing to do. But it was a thing to do. And it didn’t tax my body, brain, or budget. I got hooked.
So today when the thrift stores opened back up again, I hit both our local ones in a quest for more.
Of course, there are at least 3,395,462 adult jigsaw puzzle designs available. But it’s strange how alike many of them are. There’s the Standard European Village Photo, which isn’t bad. But there’s at least 875,631 variations on the Nature Scene That Looks Like It Would Be Populated by Unicorns Instead of Grizzly Bears and surely more than 1,000,013 versions of the Peaceful Cabin by the Lake That’s So Sweet You’d Think Hansel and Gretel’s Witch Lived In It. Even dog-themed puzzles mostly run to Adorable Puppies In a Basket or Funny Dogs Having a Party. (Cooler dog puzzles are available. Just not yet at the thrift store.)
Even at a small-town thrift store there are dozens of these sappy standards. I plowed through them (and along the way passed up the Giant Majestic Deluxe 1000-Piece Puzzle that featured Jesus’ soul wafting upward from a picturesque stone grotto — or maybe it was meant to be Jesus’s not-quite corporeal body emerging from the grave; hard to tell, could have been the ghost of Jesus haunting the Forest of Unicorns), and did find a couple okay puzzles.
Then in the second store I hit, I found this:
It was an outrageous (for a junque store where you can never be sure you’re getting all the pieces or that the pieces won’t be covered with peanut butter and jelly) $2.50. But of course I had to have it.
So even as I labor mindlessly, I’ll still be laboring “for the cause.” Well, at least I’ll tell myself that; not that I’ll believe it or anything.
But seriously, who’d expect to find that? Who knew that knocking down the Berlin wall was ever even a subject for jigsaw puzzles?
That guy in the pink shirt’s going to make one part of this puzzle waaaay to easy, though.
*Though I’d be more than willing to give it a try.