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I came into our condo yesterday , expecting supper to be ready, but Esther wasn’t there. The hallway door was unlocked so  I had a pretty good idea where she was. I went next door to the Amenities Room, opened the door  and there was Esther and her sister busy with something I cannot understand or imagine anyone doing.

Let me explain how this came about. Someone painted a very nice picture of an outdoor scene. Someone else took a scissors, or a hatchet or something and cut that beautiful portrayal into hundreds of tiny pieces. Someone else put this collection of cardboard chunks in a box, put it on sale and somehow caused it to be put in front of Esther and Evelyn and expected them to fix the damage. He didn’t threaten them or offer to pay them or anything but for some reason--a hopeless addiction or something--they agreed to his insane influence and began the sordid chore of reconstructing the  whole mess.

The scariest part of this whole evil scheme was then revealed. These ladies did not cringe at the terrible task, did not cry, did not appear resigned to a hopeless fate. No, they actually seemed to LIKE the terrible thing. They chuckled, laughed,  chatted cheerfully and occasionally shouted in victory as they discovered where one of the tiny pieces fit in. It was pitiful.

I now realized it was my duty to help them break their sorry addiction. Perhaps if I explained the total irrationality, the pointlessness of the thing. Creating something, like the doomed painting, was  a good thing. Destroying a painting was the opposite, a destructive act. But the most incredibly wrong, pointless, waste of precious time and effort, was to put together a picture that was deliberately ruined just so you could put it together again.

Esther interrupted me to suggest that maybe my columns were not much more creative. In my research I took words, phrases that I found in books, magazines, and other media, ideas that other people had written about, opinions of others that I repeated or commented on, pieced those things together and called it a  column.

Shocked at this vile  representation of my honest work I refused to take it seriously enough to bother defending myself, and instead to offer imaginary examples similar in nature to jigsaw puzzles.

Would a person who enjoys doing mechanical work on cars buy a vehicle and then drive it into a brick wall so he could put it together again?

Would a hunter who found a wounded  deer take it to a veterinarian, get it fixed, then send it out into the bush so he could find it and shoot it?  (Maybe not the best example.) 

Would a pyromaniac spend months building a beautiful house so that he could have the pleasure of burning it down?

They weren’t impressed even a little by my carefully presented  lesson in rational activity so I gave up. They were too far gone.

Now these are two very bright women who have been successful at very demanding jobs. How could they be duped into such a purposeless undertaking? Surely I could  have convinced them to use their brains for more important things, like the economy and global warming and what we were going to have for supper.                                                                                                       

When they left to go shopping I decided I should at least take look at the evil beast. Maybe I’d see some way I could defeat it. So I went to the amenities room, stared down at it. I noticed that one of the pieces had fallen on the floor . As I picked it up I noticed it was half blue and half green, obviously intended to go over to that empty space where the sky meets the meadow. As I tucked it in I noticed a lot of yellow in the landscape and my hand was resting near a yellow… “OH NO!” I cried, as a tremendous bolt of fear stabbed through me. In total panic I swung round, raced through the doorway, slammed the door and stood there, sweating, my whole body shaking and trembling as though I had  just evaded certain death . My God that was close.

I thought for a while of starting a counselling service (Dumb Pastimes Anonymous?) for people who have found themselves in the grip of  the jigsaw addiction.  But I soon realized I wouldn’t even be able to speak the name of the monster in public. And I will never, ever go anywhere near it again.

To comment on columns contact Esther or me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 306 384 8657 or 110 - 201 Cree Place Saskatoon,  S7K 7Z3

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Wednesday March 13, 2024