a confession

by carlocmd

ok, you got me.  i have a confession to make.

it’s a deep, dark secret that shames me to admit.

but there is certain satisfaction from the freedom a confession gives you.

i am addicted to sudoku.

Sudoku (数独 sūdoku?, すうどく) i/suːˈdoʊkuː/soo-doh-koo is a logic-based, combinatorial number-placement puzzle. The objective is to fill a 9×9 grid with digits so that each column, each row, and each of the nine 3×3 sub-grids that compose the grid (also called “boxes”, “blocks”, “regions”, or “sub-squares”) contains all of the digits from 1 to 9. The puzzle setter provides a partially completed grid, which typically has a unique solution.

so whenever i have some down time, when i do not feel like reading (which is my favorite pastime, by the way), and when i feel the need to flex some mind muscle, i open up the sudoku app on my ipod and click, click, click away. 

it amuses me that you can persist at a task, completing the grid, by focusing your attention.  there is always one right answer.  and the satisfaction of a perfect grid is like… well, perfection.

daddy, my wife would say, be a good example to your boys.  the reason they are addicted to gadgets is because you are!

guilty, i silently admit.

one time, i saw my boy sitting hunched over his study table.  he was obviously not studying, because his bag was way across the room.  he had a pencil in his hand, and was furiously scribbling and erasing on a small book.  

drawing, i thought.  but his book was too small.  so i continued to watch him.

after a few minutes he said, dad i’m done.

he showed me a sudoku book.  he had done 3 puzzles.  i compared his answers to the back of the book.  the first two were perfect.  i saw a difference in the third puzzle, and assumed he did something wrong.

i called his attention, and he said, oops! sorry!

then he got his book back and scribbled some more.  when he returned a minute later, there was still a variation on his answers.

so i double-checked his answers by doing the puzzle myself.

lo and behold, his answers were correct.  i used to think that there would only be one answer to a particular sudoku puzzle, but i was wrong.

sometimes there are two correct ways to do it.  and if there are two ways, i imagine there could sometimes be a third as well.

i’m tired dad, he said.  can i go outside and play?

go ahead, i said.  i’m proud of you for figuring these puzzles out.

inside, i was also humbled realizing that just like Life, when you think you have things figured out, sometimes there is not just one correct answer.

i need more sudoku.