I don’t know about you, but I love working puzzles. Any kind will do: logic, Sudoku, crosswords, codes, jigsaws, just about any kind of puzzle put before me. I keep a book of puzzles in the bathroom to accompany a leisurely bath. You will always find a book of a variety of puzzles in my car’s glove compartment, ready to entertain me at any given moment. I even keep a small Sudoku in my pocketbook for entertainment in doctor’s offices, waiting to be seen, or after getting shots. Puzzles relax me and keep my mind busy from thinking about less pleasant things.

I have always loved puzzles. When I was a child, I was inquisitive about how things worked. I was infamous for taking things apart to see what made them “tic” and putting them back together again. I remember taking the television apart while my parents were away, just to see all the parts and how they worked. I knew it was not something that would please my parents, but I was bored and, oh so, inquisitive, that I had it apart in short order, and, yes, I did unplug it before dissecting it. I was careful with the picture tube, understanding it’s potential danger. The danger I forgot was that of my parents coming home to find their television apart. Televisions were nothing like what we see today, there were tubes for everything. It was quite fascinating. So much so, I forgot about the time. Looking at the clock, I realized I had little time before my parents’ expected return. I needed to quickly restore the television. Hurriedly, I replaced the parts to their original positions, completing the task just in time for their entrance into the house. Not having an opportunity to turn the television on, to check and see if I had completed my puzzle correctly, I was very anxious, to say the least. Later, when my dad turned the television on, I was relieved to hear the sound, and see the picture. Now I could breathe a sigh of relief and proudly indulge in a little satisfaction that I had accomplished my task… the puzzle was solved.

The television was not all I tinkered with. I challenged myself to take apart, and put back together, many things… radios, clocks, watches, toasters, stoves, refrigerators… if it did something I wanted to know how and why. Later, I would use that same curiosity to do home plumbing, and various mechanical repairs in the house. I had to do a lot of “self-talk” to stay away from some of my children’s toys. A few were intriguing, but I left them for my children’s curiosity (what kind of mother would take apart their child’s toy?). When the computer came along, it was just one more big puzzle. I needed to know what made it “tic.” That need lead to a class in programing and, was that ever a puzzle challenge. Programing the computer to do my bidding was interesting and satisfying, but not something I wanted to do often. No, once the puzzle was solved and I understood the technology, my preference was for programs written by programmers with far greater skills and patience than mine. The computer does continue to challenge me with unsolved puzzles, even as I write this article. For some reason, my spell check is not working. Being spelling challenged, it is a puzzle I must solve before the paper goes to press!

Source: K. P. Guessen