An Introduction to Sudoku
Today I had one of those days where every minute was pretty much spoken for, from the moment I got up, until right about… well, now actually. In the middle of the day, I had scheduled the kids’ dental appointments, which, you know, we’ve all been there. I mean, maybe some of you don’t have kids, but you’ve been to the dentist for yourself. And, honestly, the waiting room at the dentist is one of the most torturous experiences in life.
It probably doesn’t help that I can’t sit in a doctor’s office or a waiting room of any sort without the Fugazi song, “Waiting Room,” running through my head on repeat.
I am a patient boy… I wait I wait I wait I wait… My time like water down the drain…
I believe, if there is a hell, that it must be very much like an eternity spent in a dentist’s waiting room. You hear the sounds of drills; the auditory evidence of the torture of others. You feel the mixture of nervousness of the impending dental procedure and the utter mind-numbing boredom of sitting in a room with absolutely nothing worthwhile to do. Yep. Just on the other side of that door, satan is getting shit ready for you… but just sit quietly and wait for a few centuries first, okay?
This dentist may have an even worse waiting room than most, though. It doesn’t have anything to occupy children like kids movies or Highlights magazines (do they still make Highlights magazines? I assume if Highlights DOES still exist, its sole purpose is to be placed in the waiting rooms of pediatricians and dentists, because really nobody gets magazines any more. And, if they did have Highlights, some brat would have already circled the hidden objects in the picture, because that’s just the sort of self-entitled bullshit dragging this society down. And… holy shit this is an extremely long parenthetical aside about Highlights magazine!). So, knowing the torture of this particular waiting room, I came prepared: not one, not two, but THREE tablets to keep the kids occupied.
On a side note, seriously, medical profession: get your act together and offer free wifi in your waiting areas already. SERIOUSLY! It’s complete crap that I get like one bar on a secure signal for “Office Printer” and nothing more. Why the hell I can’t check my Twitter without using my data on my cell plan is beyond me! But I digress…
So two of the kids had already gone back, and I was occupying my time with one of the tablets, when a grandmother and two young boys, both around the ages of 4 or 5, entered the waiting area. While the grandmother was otherwise preoccupied with doing the paperwork at the reception window, the two boys scanned the room and immediately spied the glowing tablet in my hand. Within seconds, both boys were upon me, and when I say upon me, I mean to say these kids had NO SENSE OF STRANGER DANGER.
Kid1: Whatcha doin?
Me: (surprised to find I have a young black boy perched on my lap) Um… well… it’s called sudoku.
Kid2: I’ve heard of sudoku!
Kid1: What’s a sudoku?
Me: Well, um, it’s a sort of… puzzle. You need to get each number from one to nine to go in each row, column, and square.
Kid2: So, what, you just put numbers in? Why don’t you just put all the numbers in?
Me: It’s not that simple, really. You only start with a few numbers revealed and have to figure out the rest using… (here I contemplate using the word logic, but abandon that idea) using your brain.
Kid 1: What do you mean?
Me: Okay, well, here. See this row? It needs a four and a five to go in these two open spaces. SO, since this square already has a five in it, we know that this space must be a four. So I’ll click the space, and you click the four.
Kid 1: Like that?
Me: Exactly! Now I’ll click the other square, and you can click the number five for me.
Kid 2: Like that?
Me: Yep! Good job!
Kid 1: Mister?
Kid 1: Do you have any games on this thing?
Me: Umm… hm. Well, actually sudoku IS a game.
Kid 1: . . .
Kid 2: No. Like games? REAL games?
Kid 1: Don’t you know what a game is?
So, today I learned that Sudoku is not, in fact, a game. What did you folks learn today? Also, here’s Fugazi’s epic song, so it can be stuck in your heads as well: