Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Rubik's Rubes

I just boxed up a broken Pyraminx Speed Cube to return it to Amazon. How many times have you said that, huh? If you’re like me, never.

I have a feeling it won’t be the last time. The problem is my kids are smarter than me. Don’t ever tell them I said that.

What is a Pyraminx Speed Cube, you ask? It’s obviously a four-sided pyramid-shaped Rubik’s Cube. Why are they calling a pyramid a ‘Cube,’ you ask? Good question. I have no idea. Why would anyone need a pyramid-shaped Rubik’s Cube, you ask? Obviously for when the regular square one gets too boring.

When Son Number Two first asked for a Rubik’s Cube, I had an immediate flashback to my childhood. I was there when the Rubik’s Cube became an overnight sensation, and I remember my first encounter with the cube like it was yesterday.

My sister handed me a Rubik’s Cube that was all scrambled up, and told me that I needed to switch all the squares around so each side was a solid color. I twisted and turned the colorful plastic cube for at least an entire minute. Then I threw it at her head and went outside and played freeze tag.

The only other time I ever touched it was when I needed to kick the infernal little Hungarian torture device across the room on my way to get my comic books. I hated that thing. It was impossible. Whatever part of the brain is responsible for being able to even begin to figure out a way to start possibly coming up with the beginning of a partial idea for how to solve a Rubik’s Cube – I was born without that part.

I looked at Son Number Two with rightful suspicion. Should I bother to spend the ten bucks to get you a Rubik’s Cube that history shows you will probably abandon within three days? Do I need to get out the box of abandoned fads?

Let’s see what’s in here. Ah, the five thousand dollars-worth of Rainbow Loom stuff. I remember this. Do you want to make me another multicolored rubber band bracelet, or are we done with this for good? If you need any of the little rubber bands, they’re all still tangled in the vacuum’s beater bar. All the little plastic clips are in the vacuum’s bag.

Oh, look, here’s the big stack of cups from that worldwide sensation you couldn’t bear to miss out on – cup stacking. Yes, stacking cups and then unstacking them really fast. With special expensive plastic cups. I remember the six minutes that lasted. Good times.

Hey! Here’s the three Kendamas we have, because each of you needed your own. Remember? It was dubbed “The Japanese yo-yo.” I never understood that. It’s a stick shaped like a hammer with a wooden ball tied to it. It’s nothing like a yo-yo. What it is is a great way to hit yourself in the face with a wooden ball. Do you remember playing with these for hours? No? That’s probably because you only played with them for three minutes.

What’s that there? Oh, the little spiky tray that the fuse beads go on. You remember the fuse beads, right? You used to store them in the carpet for safe keeping. Those microscopic colorful cylinders that melt together when you iron them to make a plastic drink coaster in the shape of a Christmas tree or a turtle. Those were useful. You could make something with them now, but all the fuse beads are in the vacuum bag with the Rainbow Loom hooks. Sorry.

So why should I believe this Rubik’s Cube you want isn’t going to end up in this box? Oh, well. I guess we’ll give it a shot. What do we have to lose except ten bucks?

It’s been a few weeks now and I’m happy to report that having a Rubik’s Cube has drastically increased the requests for screen time, since there is now a treasure trove of videos and step-by-step instructions on how to solve the cube out there on the internet. There’s even a site where you can input exactly what your cube looks like and it will give you the exact turn sequence to solve it.

Just one more thing this spoiled, entitled generation will take for granted. Back in my day, we didn’t have the internet. We had to peel off the stickers and rearrange them to solve the Rubik’s Cube. That was the only way.

In just a few short days of total Rubik’s Cube immersion, Son Number Two was already looking for a new challenge. Enter the Pyraminx. A pyramid-shaped Rubik’s Cube. As soon as I saw it I had the overwhelming urge to throw it at my sister’s head and run. But Son Number Two jumped right in and spun the pieces around so many times in the span of a week that he wore it out. In the process, he got pretty fast at solving it.

It appears that the Rubik’s Cube might escape the box of abandoned fads for at least another week or two. My children amaze me. At one point or another all three of them have complained loudly about how hard the Rubik’s Cube is, but not one of them has thrown it at the other’s head and gone to play freeze tag. They just keep trying. Go figure.

The Rubik's Cube part of the brain must skip a generation. Or come from the mother's side.

At least I gave them freeze tag.

See you soon,


Copyright © 2016 Marc Schmatjen

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