Algorithm of a Rubik’s Cube


I’d like to tie this story in with my previous post.

Almost two years ago, I drove across the state to visit Nathan in Olympia.  I had Red Sox-Mariners tickets for the two of us to go to the game.  Nathan couldn’t make it because his parents surprised him with a visit from Vermont.  Instead of trying to hawk my extra ticket online, I asked Nathan if I could take one of his friends on a friend date.

He was uncomfortable with the idea.

I’m not sure why, maybe because he couldn’t imagine himself in such an awkward situation.  Maybe because he knew who I had in mind.

I had heard a story from Nathan months before, about a close friend of his in Seattle, who I’m sure would prefer to remain anonymous so we’ll call him Doug, doing something VERY unusual.

Sometimes Doug drank a little too much.  When he did, it was inevitable that he would seek out a dark place like a sleeping bag, or a tent… maybe the backyard.  Then, he would strip down.  He would prepare himself for a performance, completely naked.  No one knew when it was coming, or from where.  It didn’t matter how many people were at the party, or whether he knew them.

When he was ready, Doug would reenact his own birth.  In real time.

Sometimes it would take him twenty minutes.  Sometimes two hours.

He wiggled slowly, painstakingly, through the opening of whatever space he was in.  A sleeping bag head-hole, a tent flap, a kitchen doggy door flap.  As Nathan tells it, the performance was always very believable, and very disturbing.  No one within earshot could stop watching, no matter how much they wanted to.

With the final ‘plop’ of Doug’s naked body hitting the floor, or the ground, someone would realize that the sleeping bag he had just spent forty five minutes worming his way out of, was theirs.  As you might imagine, that never went over well.

Apparently, Doug did this often.

I never got to see it happen, but naturally I wanted to.  Who wouldn’t?

So, I invited Doug to that baseball game, on a friend date.

We had a great time getting to know one another.  I chose not to mention the reenactments.

Last night Nathan and I went to see Doug.  He made us chili, and we discussed yoga, business ideas, parasitic brain infections, book editing, vandalism, and the algorithms required to solve a Rubik’s cube in under two minutes.   I was reminded of how strange we all are.  How wonderful it is to know people who know themselves.


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