Saturday, May 12, 2012

Something's Missing

When I was a kid I had a brother who loved doing puzzles, and another brother who loved doing models.  Being the youngest, I tried my hand at both hobbies, but I must say painting and assembling a miniature automobile out of plastic parts just isn't my thing.  Not so much because it is difficult or boring - I'm pretty patient and easily entertained - I just don't get a lot of satisfaction over having a tiny Ford Fairlane when I'm done exacto knifing various parts from their holding cells and Supergluing them together for hours on end.

I do like doing puzzles, though.  When I was younger 500 pieces was my limit, but as I've grown more sedentary and also realized there are techniques for making the process easier, such as arranging the pieces by general color and shape, I have taken on some 750 and even a 1000 piece puzzle.

Unfortunately I have found the puzzle section of most stores to be lacking.  I don't know if I just have a hankering for the kinds of pictures that were on the 1970s and 80s era puzzles of my childhood, or if I just don't particularly like dolphins,unicorns or Thomas Kincaid paintings, but I took to the internet a few months ago to try and find some puzzles with the pictures of barns and watermills that I grew up loving so much.

This week I have finally been wrapping up my final purchase, a 1200 piece beast with a lovely picture of a small village in the Alps.  As I am approaching the end, I can't help but notice that I have a lot of red pieces left, which corresponds with the fall colors in one section of the puzzle.  However, I have holes that, unless there is a jarring visual dissonance in the mountains and meadow that I think should be shades of purple and green, reveals the disturbing fact that there are some missing puzzle pieces.  I really don't want to do a 1197 piece puzzle, nor do I expect to gaze with satisfaction upon a view of the mountains with three white gaps staring back at me.

 I suppose this is the chance one takes when buying a used puzzle, but really, how do you lose three pieces to a puzzle?  You take the pieces out of the box, put them all together, then disassemble and put back in the box.  I can understand a piece falling to the floor unnoticed during this process, but three?  Although to be honest, I think having just one piece missing would be even more aggravating.  The sad thing is, I will have to throw this puzzle away when I'm done, because there's no way I'm doing it again knowing it is incomplete.  And I can't stop now, with 40 or so pieces left to go.  I just have to keep trudging on, trying to reach an unattainable goal, all the while knowing I won't get there, like Bob Dole did when he won the Republican nomination for president.