I had a brief Sudoku fling awhile back, but then I realized that Sudoku puzzles were completely addictive and not at all enjoyable. Most addictive things are addictive because there is an element of extreme joy involved, even if there is a negative and often destructive component as well. Not Sudoku. I found Sudoku puzzles to be minimally fun-- basically I was just doing work. And yet, I had a mild addiction.* Then, one day, I got sick of Sudoku and stopped. I thought I'd never look back.
And then I started dating a girl who was not only addicted to Sudoku puzzles, but who was much better than me at them.
This is not funny. Not only has Sudoku been brought back into my life with a vengeance, but my self-esteem is now dangerously at stake. No one, especially a girlfriend, is allowed to be better than me at anything involving math or logic. This is like being an excellent gambler who had a serious gambling problem and finally quit, and then dating someone who goes to the casino every night and always wins money, and brings you with them and you usually lose.**
Every time we're together she starts doing one of these cursed puzzles, and then I start doing one, my blood pressure rises because I know she's gonna finish first, and then she finishes first. Then I loathe myself and her.
This second wave of Sudoku addiction is not a good thing. When I pick up a puzzle and eventually finish it, one of three possible scenarios occurs:
1) I'm alone, and have a proud moment by myself, whereby I'm filled with nerdy excitement and have no one to share it with. Plus, I just wasted 15 minutes*** of my life.
2) I'm with her, and we're racing, and I win (3% of the time), at which point I am saturated with intense satisfaction and become really condescending and smug.
3) I'm with her, and we're racing, and I lose (97% of the time), at which point my self-esteem drops 1-2 percentage points, and I loathe myself and her.
These are all bad. I am in a lose-lose-lose situation. Yet last night I drifted off to sleep doing a puzzle. Worse, I found myself dreaming about doing the puzzle. My self-loathing, self-defeating side has teamed up with my ridiculously nerdy side, and then they both teamed up with my girlfriend, and I cannot defeat them. I miserably surrender. I need to finish this post immediately so I can continue the puzzle.
*Other addictions that provide no joy:
-miserably watching infomercials for over an hour when you know you should be sleeping
-finishing the last quarter of the plate at the Chinese restaurant even though you're blatantly stuffed
-Triscuits (these are horrible, yet I sometimes eat 200 of them in one sitting-- each one is worse than the last but I can't stop)
-watching The OC
-reading an entire book of Calvin and Hobbes
-trying to make a paper clip into a straight rod
**A poorly thought-out analogy