One December evening in Paranaque, Andre, Dane and I were killing time by solving puzzles that I compiled in my head since I was a little boy. You see, I love solving puzzles and challenging my friends to put their problem-solving skills to a test. It was one of those nights. We spent hours solving the detective stories I throw at them. Mind you, they were very difficult puzzles.
Just before daybreak, Dane said:
Dane: I am used to simple puzzles like the giraffe-elephant-fridge puzzle.
Yoshke: What’s that puzzle?
Andre: OMG! You don’t know that?
Yoshke: No. Everyone else does?
Andre: Yep. So give it a try.
Dane: Alright, Yoshke, in three steps, how do you put a giraffe into a refrigerator?
I spend twenty minutes trying to figure it out. When I blurted, “Don’t tell me it’s ‘Open the ref, put the giraffe, and then close it.'”
They laughed their asses off.
Hey, I was expecting a serious puzzle and this silly puzzle just caught me off-guard!
Andre: How about this: In four steps, how do you put an elephant into a refrigerator?
Yoshke: (confident) (1) Open the door. (2) Move the giraffe aside. (3) Put the elephant inside. (4) Close the door.
Andre and Dane: WRONG!
Yoshke: Seriously? What’s the right answer?
Andre and Dane: (1) Open the door. (2) Take out the giraffe. (3) Put the elephant inside. (4) Close the door.
Yoshke: But I wanted to just move the giraffe aside!
Andre: Well you can’t! You have to remove the giraffe!
Dane: Because it won’t fit!
With that, I snapped!
Yoshke: HOW DARE YOU DICTATE HOW BIG MY REFRIGERATOR IS!!! I MANAGED TO PUT THE DARN GIRAFFE INTO IT; OF COURSE IT CAN ACCOMMODATE AN ELEPHANT!
Alright, so I took that puzzle too seriously. Wahaha.
We all love puzzles. Some people can endure trying to solve one puzzle game and not give up even if they end up hating themselves and hitting someone else for failing to solve it.
Whether it’s just a short detective quiz that a friend has shared or a simple anagram or even a mere puzzling question, we always try to solve them and share them with others. Today, most people are going crazy over sodoku, a puzzle originated in Japan and took the world by storm.
Why do most people love puzzles? Maybe it’s because it is human nature to always ask why or how. Maybe it’s because we love the feeling of being up for the challenge. Maybe it’s the sense of pride and accomplishment when we are able to solve one. Maybe it’s because puzzles divert our attention and escape the real world.
Cliché as it may sound but life is one big puzzle full of little puzzles. If there’s one benefit that puzzle-solving can give us, it is that they keep us sharp and smart. They make us think in many ways. They make us analyze and try to solve them in many different ways and see different approaches to do it.
Puzzles reflect real-life problems. The jigsaw reminds us to fix and put together broken pieces. The maze motivates us to find the right way. The hangman tells us that we can only make so much mistakes. We try to deal with them in the smartest and the best way possible because we know that in real life, game over is not an option.
So I have another silly puzzle:
Say, you’re moving to another continent and you’re on a plane. You have ALL your things with you. Suddenly, you realize that the plane is going to crash because it couldn’t carry the weight. You need to throw something out. What is that ONE thing that you HAVE to dispose of?
*some parts of this post I originally wrote for Qool Media.