(Jigsaw) Piece of cake (Andrew)

Are you a masochist or a sadist?

Most people would say they were neither as (a) they don’t like pain; and (b) really, who likes pain?!?

But, if you’re a runner, I bet that you’re secretly one or the other because anyone who runs either wants to beat other people and be first across the finish line or they want to beat themselves by running faster than they’re run before.

I’m a masochist. If I was a sadist, a genuine one, I’d be the one in the corner struggling and failing to untangle my whip (not an euphemism). Which I imagine is a bit of a genuine problem. Think about how hard it to keep a headphone cable untangled. If you’ve got a five metre long whip then you’re going to spend most of your time trying to untie the knot in the middle. Indiana Jones would be a very different film if, when he confronts the bad guy, he pulled out his whip and said “Damn, I only just put this away how can it have more knots than a speedboat?!?”

Anyways, I’m not a sadist. Not in the real world, not as an athlete. I don’t want to beat other people. I like running my own race and judging what I do against my own times. In that way, I’m a masochist except… when it comes to Iain.

Then I want to beat him.

It’s amazing how a little competition will make you achieve impossible feats. We only put a man on the moon because the US wanted to beat Russia. We only reached each pole because explorers challenged each other to be first. And I only completed a 1,000 piece jigsaw in 48 hours this Christmas because Iain challenged me that I wouldn’t be able to do it.

You will notice that all of these achievements are comparable. Neil Armstrong may have got to the moon – but, other than sitting down for three days and then taking a couple of steps, what did he actually do?!? And those Arctic explorers had huskies who did all the work. So, really, my achievement was greater than them.

By the way, why was ‘Buzz’ Aldrin, the second man on the moon, called Buzz? Easy, he was NASA’s plan B!

Did I mention I can also write Christmas cracker jokes?

Anyways, we were home for a few days and my mum had just completed a 1,000 piece jigsaw. It had taken her a month so I said “I bet I could do it in a day”, because, you know, I had no idea what I was talking about and had never completed a jigsaw so just said the first thing that came to my head.

Iain said “I bet you £40 you can’t complete it in even 48 hours?”

I said “Deal!” and we shook on it.

Then the sadistic streak kicked in. I would beat him. And I would take his money. So, I got to work and –

– who knew jigsaws were so tough?!?!?!?

Why do they have pieces that are just one colour, and not just one piece but 100 pieces all coloured blue for the sea, and another 100 coloured grey for clouds?

And why won’t this one fit?

And I’ve tried all the pieces and there’s clearly one missing!???

And – oh, wait, now it fits. How many to go? 998.


But, 36 hours later, having carefully and systematically tried to fit every piece to every other piece, this happened.


And then this happened.


Which clearly makes Iain a masochist. He might have thought he was a sadist in setting the challenge but he made a fatal mistake. I said I could complete it in a day. He gave me two days. There was no way I could complete it in a day – I’d have lost. He’d have won. But, in giving me two days, it just showed he wasn’t trying to beat me at all but wanted to lose not only the challenge but his cash. What a masochist!