I think it was probably around 1983 that I got my first Rubik’s Cube. Wasn’t that the year they really hit big in the U.S.? Anyway, I just never had the patience or the logical foresight to be able to solve it. Never. Not once. Oh, sure, I was able to solve one side. I think once I might have solved two. But I could never envision how to put it all together. It’s the same reason I suck at chess.
Before long, I knew that it wasn’t possible to just solve the whole thing one side at a time. And, unnervingly, when you were closest to having the whole puzzle solved, just a couple of turns away from a complete solution, there would be a sequence of moves where none of the sides were solved. That was just too much for my 9-year-old brain.
Eventually I just gave up on ever solving my Rubik’s Cube. It didn’t help that I had also learned that you could turn one side to a 45-degree angle, pop out the middle edge piece, and easily disassemble the entire thing, reassembling it in perfect order. And so it was, that my speedy solution to the Rubik’s Cube, sadly, always involved a screwdriver.
This year my parents gave me a Rubik’s Cube for Christmas. (It’s OK… that’s not the only thing they got me for Christmas. I also got this, which rocks.) Today I decided, by gum, I’m gonna solve it! Of course, not on my own. These days Rubik’s Cubes ship with a little pamphlet revealing the magical seven-step solution. (No, not seven moves, more like a hundred or so. But seven basic logical steps.)
I was doing great… halfway through the seventh and final step, when… well, the whole thing fell apart. Not literally. They’re made pretty well — and it’s no longer possible to pop out the edge piece with a screwdriver. (Don’t ask me how I know that it’s no longer possible. I just have my ways.)
I realized after a moment of fretting that I had misinterpreted part of Step 7. I was left with this:
One good side, and five sides of crap. (Much like Yessongs. Sorry… had to say it. Not too often you can work in a joke about a 36-year-old prog rock triple live album. By Yes.)
After dinner I was sufficiently distanced from my devastating defeat that I was willing to have another go, and this time… success!