Sunday, November 13, 2005

Numbers Game

I've decided that my lack of blogging -- and fiction -- output results from several causes. Being that this lends itself to a list, which is the easiest, fastest way to write "content" for "readers' pleasure," I have fitfully assigned each one of these reasons a number and present them as such:

1. I have "better things to do," such as reading girlie magazines, watching television, and staring blankly at the computer screen.

2. Depression.

3. At the end of October, I turned 41. Say it loud, say it proud,
forty-fuckin'-one. (See #2).

4. I blame Wife for all my troubles. Husband's perogative. Please don't kick my ass now.

5. Shoulder woes, hand cramp, ass cramp, brain freeze.

6. Sudoku.

As much a I would like to assign blame to Nos. 1, 3, 4, and 5, it is 2 & 6 that are to blame. Depression and a goddamn puzzle.

For the uninitiated, sudoku is a Japanese import that lands on the spectrum of "interesting stuff" somewhere between sumo and Hello Kitty. Sudoku is a puzzle involving numbers. I won’t go into details, but it’s something I enjoy, as it plays nicely into my logical mind. A “8” goes in this box because the “3” goes into that box, because the “8” has to go into the box. You get its appeal, I am sure.

Sudoku: Japanese for "Satanic time-waster"

I have taken so much to this game, that I play it at work, at night, weekends, during dinner parties, sex, Bears games, while tossing a loaf, etc. We’re talking hours here, of an exercise that has no longer the characteristics of a pastime but rather addiction.

And the entire point of this addiction is that I prove my intelligence, to myself. There is a web version of sudoku that times players against averages; if one completes the puzzle before a certain amount of time elapses, you are rewarded with the knowledge you have done it in less time than others. It's like masturbatory MENSA. You are better than others. You are smarter. Because sudoku proves it. Even if nobody else knows or cares.

Since, on occasion, I have proven myself more intelligent than the average surfer, this validates me, lets me know that I can accomplish something – unlike, say, getting my novel published or even sending out a short story.

Through endless practice over the past two weeks, I’ve become rather adept at sudoku. Yay, hooray. It’s kind of like being good at golf or screwing – a nice diversion from life’s quotidian annoyances, but you wouldn’t put it on your tombstone.

And, like golf or sex, the amount of time spent working at achieving a desired outcome in sudoku never matches the ultimate reward. OK, sex is different. But you get the idea.

So I must end this missive with the news that I will soon return, after completing the “evil” level of sudoku, with an extended meditation on what Churchill termed “the Black Dog,” and rabid canine it is, that depression.