Since somewhere around the beginning of time, there has been a puzzle game often found in bars and grandparents’ back rooms.
It’s generally in the form of a wooden triangle with holes drilled in it to hold golf tees. One hole is empty, and the game is to jump tees and remove them, much like taking a checker. In the most common version of the game, the goal is to leave only one tee remaining.
It was all the rage for the 8 to 12 year old set before the age of electronics, and I recall stark determination driving my older brother to solve it. It was maddening, fairly easy to get down to two tees. Pretty challenging to win with only one tee left.
I’ll admit, I never mastered it, irrespective of the hours spent. I’m sure we still have a copy of this game around the house here somewhere, but hours of frustration have left me somewhat less than enchanted with the chase.
This afternoon however, out of nowhere, came the answer to my struggling organizational difficulties. Having absorbed entirely too many things from the households of relatives who’ve gone on to the next chapter of life, our family has been elbow-bumping its way through hallways and spare rooms for far too long.
No beginning seems to lead to livable, breathable, lasting progress. At times we feel like we’re just moving piles from one place to another place – and sometimes, back again. Frustration levels mount, we can’t find things we know are there (somewhere) in with all the memories and treasures from other times and places.
Finally, tonight as I pulled into the garage, it dawned on me: our house and our situation are a lot like that triangle puzzle. We have to find the empty spot to start, then shift things around in some orderly way until everything is nestled where it belongs. Voila! Order.
Of course, this also requires planning, much like the triangle game requires planning. You don’t want to end up with several stranded tees on various edges of the triangle. But the key factors are the same. Make a beginning….. and remove things as you go along. If you always think a couple of moves ahead, things should come out fine. With a concept in mind, I can hardly wait – and I intend to win this one!
© 2020, J. Cools
Triangles and Tees was written December 1, 2020. Posting was delayed due to technical difficulties.