Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Four shots ripped through my groin and I was off on the biggest adventure of my life. [Max Shulman, Sleep till Noon]
I've always wanted to be a detective. Mostly a private investigator but I never made it. You see, the most successful ones (even in real life) were cops once and I didn't ever want to be a cop after the age of 6. Not that I had a bad experience with the police at that age, just that the idea left my child's brain and never really returned. And the wisdom of that exile was reinforced by experiences I had on Shore Patrol duty while in the Navy.
But being a detective... that always interested me. I am fascinated by murder mysteries, crime novels (and true crime stories), and the stories of crime I read in the media or see on TV news. I watch shows like CSI, NCIS, The Closer, et al. I read detective novels, watch detective movies (especially old ones like The Maltese Falcon). I think it is the curiosity in me. The attraction to puzzles.
The same emotions are involved in unraveling a jigsaw puzzle, or a solitaire game, or a murder mystery, or even a crossword puzzle. You follow the clues and, after awhile, a pattern emerges. You examine the emerging pattern and the resolution practically jumps out at you. A complex mathematical equation is like that. You take it apart, examine and solve the pieces, and put it all back together at the end. The best puzzle is one which is not easily solved, where the pattern is obscured (but not hidden).
I never got to be a detective, of course, but I followed a path that I found to be similar. I was a troubleshooter. I would never have been happy doing anything else. I could never understand those that liked clerical work, or plugging away on an assembly line, or painted houses or laid carpet, or carpenters, construction workers. I mean, I understand the feeling that comes with hard work, or putting in a full day, there's a certain accomplishment involved. I saw that in my father.
But it was never for me. For me, it was always about solving the puzzle. Even when I dabbled in painting and drawing and photography, I approached it as a problem to be solved. Maybe that is why I was not so good at it.
Life is a puzzle, isn't it? The question is, do we want to solve it?
A Night Unremembered
6 years ago