I am hunched over a jigsaw puzzle a good deal of the time lately. Do I have other tasks on my agenda? Most assuredly. Should I be dusting or organizing or bathing the dog or pulling dead leaves off of my houseplants? Yes, and that list could go on. But the fact remains that if a puzzle is out, chances are I will be engaged or scheming how to re-engage.
According to my scanty research, puzzle sales are up 370% year over year in 2020—a statistic comparable to puzzle sales during the Great Depression when incidentally you could also rent a puzzle for 5 cents a night. Some jigsaw puzzle companies report they are selling 20 puzzles a minute! Covid 19 has been a veritable black swan for them. I regret that I am not contributing to this economy. I buy my puzzles at thrift stores. Part of my adrenalin rush apparently seems to be that one never knows if all the pieces made it through my unseen benefactor’s cleaning frenzy. Further research tells me that individuals exist who will chisel a customized missing piece for you—if you have enough scratch to afford that luxury at $20 a piece.
Currently I am working on a thousand piece puzzle depicting 34 children’s book classics—Peter Rabbit, Curious George, Corduroy, Mother Goose, Madeline, Pat the Bunny and the like, so not only am I getting a puzzle fix but I am also romping through all my memories associated with that world. A two-fer! I hummed Broadway tunes around the clock earlier in the pandemic as I fit all those puzzle pieces together in a wonderful Great White Way puzzle. On deck is a snowman puzzle which will probably send me scurrying out to play in the snow, and in the hole is a baking scene complete with oven delights you can almost smell.
Experts purport the virtues of jigsaw puzzles go far beyond their obvious value as entertainment. They exercise both sides of the brain (my brain wears sweatpants!), increase productivity, create endorphins (happy drugs!), relieve stress (unless you figure in the piles of clothes to fold that tower around you over time), increase memory, produce a meditative state, improve visual spatial reasoning (were you short on that??), and decrease chances of dementia. As if that weren’t enough to send us all marching to the toy store, puzzle crazy elders have even been reported to have the brain of a 25 year old! Add in the good sense that their years of experience would have brought and that sounds like a pretty good formula for some amazing golden years!
I am not so concerned about my golden years as I am about surviving the year we all seem to be stuck in like a broken record. Just when I’ve gotten an emotional handle on things something new pops up in the way of an election or a meteoric rise in infections or a grim report on the economy. Even simple rituals like holidays have been slashed. Hope is the second word out of everyone’s mouth. Have it, keep it, pray for it, generate it, don’t lose it, spread it and hold onto it like a Titanic lifeboat.
If Marilyn’s thoughts have put you in the “puzzling” mood, CLICK HERE.
No wonder everyone is turning to puzzles. You can simply lay out all the pieces and then begin to nestle them securely into each other as you create a perfect picture—just like on the box lid. A satisfying snap one by one with each piece. The world currently does not resemble its former box lid…I am going to close out and go look for Corduroy’s button. It is eluding me, but I know it is there.