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Every once in a great while, I like to do a jigsaw puzzle. I hesitate to mention this not because I am ashamed, but because every time I have mentioned this in the past—whether in an article, a sermon, or just randomly at the mall—I have soon thereafter received a jigsaw puzzle as a gift.

So let me state right off, in case some of you are looking up my address in the phone book* and preparing to send me all those 10,000 piece puzzles from your attic with pictures of Thomas Kincade paintings and kittens with string, “I don’t want them!” You see, while I do the occasional puzzle—sometimes even those of the 1000 piece variety—I am only interested in puzzles with Snoopy or Star Wars on them.

And I can’t for the life of me tell you why I like to do those.

Oh, wait, I have an asterisk still unaccounted for. The reason it’s in there is that some of my younger readers may not know what a phone book is. See, in the old days, if you wanted to know the phone number for, say, your local concrete contractor, you had to walk all the way over to where these books called (follow me here) “Phone books” were located, probably the kitchen. Then, you would thumb (that’s the big, finger-like thing you use for texting—the one that doesn’t fit in your nose) through said book, probably in the yellow pages (so called because they were, for some reason, yellow) and find all the concrete contractors listed for your area. You would call one or more and get bids.

I know what you’re thinking: what a pain! Why now, if we want to know the phone number for a concrete contractor—or any other tradesman from ditch digger to U.S. Senator—we merely turn on our cell phone, point it in several directions to see if we can get a signal, go to the web, go to the web again because the first time it took us to our texting program, get to the web again and type in “concrete contractors”, get taken to an email we sent our aunt Doris three years ago wherein we somehow managed to use “concrete” and “contractions” in the same missive, go back to our browser, type in “concrete contractors” again, get over four million hits, go back to the browser and type in “concrete contractors Dumas” and immediately we are given the same five companies that are listed in the phone book, plus several hundred thousand unrelated “hits” and a helpful prompt from the browser suggesting maybe we wanted a “dumb*** contractor”, several links of which we click on because we think they’ll lead to a good chuckle. What could be simpler?

Anyway, even as I do a puzzle, I’m asking myself, “Why am I doing this?” See, I like art, and I especially like art that has Snoopy in it (“Schultz is still King!” that’s my motto) or the Millennium Falcon, but I can never figure out what is appealing about art that I sort of create myself, but not really. I mean, the picture’s right there on the box cover. It’s not like I’m doing something no one else has done before. And if I’m wanting a poster of Charlie Brown or Luke Skywalker (what I’d really like is a poster of Charlie Brown AS Luke Skywalker), an actual poster would look better on my wall than a glued-together puzzle. Although, I guess the appeal of a glued-together puzzle is so we can say proudly to our friends, “I did that myself” to which they reply, “Uh-huh, yeah.”

I guess doing a puzzle is relaxing, except that leaning over the table like that makes my back hurt. Kind of like Yoda’s back would hurt if he slept on top of a dog house.

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About Sam White

Samuel Ben White (“Sam” to his friends) is the author of the national newspaper comic strip “Tuttle’s” (found at www.tuttles.net) and the on-line comic book “Burt & the I.L.S.” (found at www.destinyhelix.com). He is married and has two sons. He serves his community as both a minister at a small church and a chaplain with hospice. In addition to his time travel stories, Sam has also written and published detective novels, a western, three fantasy novels and four works of Christian fiction.

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