If I’m hanging out at your house late at night and someone walks into the room shaking a big 500-piece box with a cover photo of a gray boulder balanced on a gray cliff, then I’m not having it.
Okay, I might help you find the corner pieces or start the first edge, but that’s it, honestly. After it gets into the no man’s land of middle pieces, and people start making stack-piles of colors, passing around the box-top and squinting, and silently trying to clip piece after piece after piece together, well I just can’t take it anymore.
When everybody crowds around the coffee table I start sulking and retreat to the couch where I occupy myself with productive jobs such as stacking all the coasters, finger-dragging the crumbs out the side of the cushions, or trying to eat a potato chip without chewing it, which is actually much more difficult than it sounds. (Quick tip: focus all your energy on sucking the flavor powder off very slowly and make sure to avoid all accidental biting in order to score a soggy and bland potato slice perfect for swallowing.)
There’s usually some giddy anticipation as the pace quickens towards the finale. All fingers get into the game, attaching major edges together and finally finding that one piece we all knew was here somewhere with the other half of the bird’s wing on it.
Hey, the last piece of the puzzle is great because it means you have the last piece of the puzzle. Let’s not overlook this fact. After all, who among us hasn’t picked up a cheapo garage sale special and only discovered it was four pieces short when you were putting it together? Talk about a buzz kill.
Secondly, it means you finally get to see the big picture. Up until that point it’s all poking, prodding, and passing around the dog-eared box top, but now we’ve got a poster. Some people even mount these things and stick them on a wall.
Lastly, there is a thick and heady sense of smoking satisfaction in the air. Even though I’m probably drinking a tall glass of wine and flipping channels past infomercials at this point, even I can feel it. The gang all pitched in, all helped out, and together accomplished the mission.
Now the party can really get nuts.