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Dear Person Who Wrote 965 pieces Inside This Puzzle Box,
Buddy, I'm not even sure where to begin, so I'll start with the obvious.
What sort of person writes “965 pieces" inside a puzzle box?
I mean COME ON, you spent however long it took to count them all, but then you couldn't take another second to add complete or incomplete? And if was incomplete, god forbid you list how many pieces are missing. You also misspelled "peice," if that’s even worth mentioning.
This here is a Master Pieces puzzle with those crazy shaped pieces (what we puzzle nerds call irregulars from a random cut). Therefore I know that although the box says 1000 pieces, having that many weirdly cut bits of cardboard inside—even when this baby was new—is highly unlikely.
Warning: Extreme puzzle nerd information forthcoming.
As you may or may not know, Person Who Wrote 965 pieces Inside This Puzzle Box, despite the authoritative 1000 pieces assertion, very few puzzles list the real piece count. Don't get me wrong, plenty of 1000-piece puzzles contain exactly 1000 pieces (think: a 25 by 40-piece grid), but some grid-style puzzles might have, say, 1008 pieces for a 36 by 28 grid.
This phenomenon, incidentally, is just another one of those things the Evil Forces will use to bring us down in the end, the rotten bastards.
To further complicate things, with your irregulars (like we have here with our butler & co.), there's no telling what the exact piece count is unless you count them manually (like you did), so your 965 pieces is at once specific and vague, or to use the street-level vernacular, it's basically a kick in my ass. Granted, I purchased this beauty for a handful of coins at a thrift store, but who can deal with it?
There's not a helluva lot to puzzle etiquette, but the one thing we puzzle nerds care about is whether or not the unit in question is complete, which you probably know since you were careful enough to put all 965 pieces back into the original bag with the little note from Team P03-08 telling me to contact their Quality Control department if an issue arises.
So why no clue about whether or not this baby is whole?
In preparation for this writing, of course I googled "singing butler puzzle'" only to discover that Ravensburger once offered a version of this 1992 painting by Jack Vettriano and that my thrift store Master Pieces rendition was incomplete from the get go. A portion of the original artwork has been cropped—the maid with her umbrella and satchel. I also discovered the image is famous and by no means exclusive; it's been reproduced on everything from posters to greeting cards. And while plenty of people love it to the point of imitation, it’s been endlessly derided as well.
Yeah, sure, fine. So what? A person never knows a puzzle until a person has worked puzzle.
Thus far I have constructed the woman in her entirety: her angled elbow sheathed in red, her clinging gown, and her graceful back. The way the man's arm drapes around her fills me with a longing ache for everyone who has lost something they'll never find again. I've completed the man's face, and wondered when he might finally nuzzle his lover's neck and inhale; or how she would feel right at that moment, when his body inflated with breath in her arms.
You know what, Person Who Wrote "965 pieces" Inside This Puzzle Box? I kinda like the way you spelled pieces. I like that you counted them all. You've imbued this singing butler with mystery, which is something he clearly hasn't had for a while. Your note also erases some of the disappointment that washed over me when I discovered The Singing Butler wasn't all that special.
Or is it?
Face it, our singing butler is different from those other singing butlers, right? None of them have the sort of pure intrigue ours possesses.
Further reading: First Person: piecing together a singular Cleveland story.
So we’re tethered by a piece of cardboard that’s been chopped up into some one thousand inscrutable pieces. Fitting, considering I am a beleaguered writer in much the same condition.
Perhaps you are compelled to count the pieces of every puzzle you work and note said count on the inside of the box. Or maybe you didn't count the pieces. Maybe you had no idea that the piece count listed on the box isn’t always exact. Maybe you constructed our flawed beauty and found it had 35 missing pieces and deduced the number of pieces that it contained was a complementary 965. Maybe you didn’t think of them as missing pieces, but lost diamonds. Either way I understand your poetry.
Now let's dance beneath a sky full of holes. To hell with the rest of the world.
ps: I feel kinda bad for the maid who got cropped out of my puzzle in the same way I felt bad for Pluto when the Important People decided it wasn't really a planet.
pss: Yes, I did complete the puzzle and found it had just one missing piece, but it doesn’t look like something missing to me. Maybe it fell from the butler’s umbrella just as he was hitting a high note.
psss: No, I did not count the pieces, my friend. I trust you; 965 it is.
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