A tisket, a tasket, a puzzle full of bassets

A popular activity throughout the pandemic has been the jigsaw puzzle. Now for those of you unfamiliar
with jigsaw puzzles, imagine if you will, a beautiful picture depicting a lovely landscape, a floral
fantasy or a basket of beautiful basset hound puppies. Then cut it up into a thousand tiny pieces, throw
it in a box and sell it for $15. People will buy it. More importantly, really bored people will buy it.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, I did not view jigsaw puzzling very favorably. I thought it an activity
for the hopeless, the disenfranchised and those devoid of their own creativity. Puzzling was something
you did right before you die.
The wife, on the other hand, has always enjoyed a good jigsaw puzzle and would try to engage me in her
inane activity.
“Come puzzle with me,” she’d say. “It’s good for your brain and will help your cognition and spatial
reasoning.”
“HA!” my retort. “I don’t even know what those things are.” Then I started singing the Kenny Rogers’
song, “Just dropped in to see what cognition your cognition was in…”
Then COVID hit and the plethora of endless unscheduled hours, the monotony of day-to-day homebound living
hit, and suddenly I found puzzling to be much more palatable.
“You know,” I said to the wife just before my brain turned to mush, “maybe I’ll join you on that puzzle
you’re working on. What’s that supposed to be, a beautiful basket full of basset hound puppies?”
“No, but you’re close. It’s a 1906 map of Outer Mongolia. I can see how you’d make that mistake, though.”

“You know what? I think I’ll let you finish that one. Call me when you find a puzzle a little less
geographic.”
The wife finished her puzzle and then ordered some Mongolian barbecue to celebrate. (Thank goodness that
wasn’t a puppy puzzle or dinner could have been really awkward.)
Thus began my jigsaw puzzling career. We spread our pieces on coffee tables, dining tables, any flat
surface that could accommodate 1,000 pieces of pure joy.
From super cute kittens “hanging in there” to dramatic Titanic seascapes, from mountain vistas to
lighthouse harbors scenes, the jigsaw puzzle has allowed us to create a world we are unable to visit
right now.
We even invested in a puzzle board with four drawers for sorting pieces by color and detail … a Godsend
for the serious puzzler.
“Oh honey,” I said to the wife, “I am so glad you got me interested in jigsaw puzzles. I feel that my
mind and body are in a much better cognition now.”
Closing her eyes and shaking her head the wife said, “I’ve been wondering what condition your condition
was in. Maybe we’d better find you a puzzle with that basket full of basset hounds…”
Raul Ascunce is a freelance columnist for the Sentinel-Tribune. He may be contacted at
[email protected]