From “The Human Condition: A User’s Manual,” by Arnold Kunst
Little Johnny Stories VII
By the time my son Johnny turned 6 he looked like he was actually maturing. Somehow he had become a hard worker. He could be, and sometime was, remarkably focused, and wouldn’t take no for an answer, but probably like all 6-year-olds he could be a little impatient especially when he got tired. [Know anybody like that?] Anyway, during what might be called his jigsaw puzzle phase I bought him a 75-piece Donald Duck puzzle. The challenge was that 75 pieces probably represented a greater challenge than he could handle at that age. It was certainly more complicated than anything he had ever tried up to that point. Well, initially he got the edge all right, then Donald, then the buildings and the people in the background, then the grass. Eventually all he had left was maybe 20 pieces that represented the blue sky – a remarkably uniform blue sky. I remember he looked like he was getting tired, and a little crabby – eventually he took a blue piece that almost fit the space he chose, and when that piece didn’t quite slide into place, he encouraged it into place with a pounding fist.
Eventually he found that he had a relatively small number of those blue pieces left over and just a few spaces for them to fit into, but no matter how he adjusted and rearranged, none of those remaining pieces would fit in any of the spaces.
The moral of the story: it takes more than a can-do attitude and determination to get the job done. Sometimes it takes a little patience, and the capacity to walk away from a quick fix that doesn’t, like, fix.