I had considered writing today’s note as a palindrome, to celebrate the culmination of ten consecutive palindrome dates (1-20-21 through 1-29-21). Fortunately, in a temporary lapse of madness, I was dissuaded by the enormity of the task. It’s worth noting, I also did nothing to mark the 21st minute of the 21st hour of the 21st day of the 21st century. I briefly considered having 21 shots (after all, 21 is the legal drinking age) but, again, a brief gap of folly saved me from alcohol poisoning. Instead, I focused on completing my 990 piece puzzle. Why not 1,000, you ask? I can’t say for sure, but at 55x18, I suppose they think it acceptable to renegue on 1% of the promised pieces. Puzzling! It would be like a Dunkin’ including a nibbled donut in the dozen I purchased.
The trick to completing a puzzle is breaking it down into activities, not focusing on the enormity of the task, then sticking with it. I start with the edges, of course. Then, there is usually a large first plane object that stands-out from the din and has a distinct texture, color and, hopefully, straight lines. Once that is completed I tell myself I’m almost there (I find lying to myself helps). For the undistinguishable parts, I find manmade structures are easier than nature, skies are easier than forests, color gradations easier than random patterns. I focus on the “easier” parts first -- color is now my guide. When the puzzle is about 80% done, I find focusing on the puzzle piece shapes helps me make progress. Finally, when I’m down to the final 5%, I resort to brute force, trying every semi-sensible combination. I suppose most complex endeavors in life have some of the same aspects. A strategy, division of labor, project management, shifting approaches as needed and persistence. Then again, consuming donuts is nothing like that. Granted, you start with the edge, but the similarities end there.