Answers on Page 92

When I am not staring at a blank computer screen, waiting for literary inspiration to mysteriously flow into my fingertips; I like to keep myself busy completing crossword puzzles.  I realize that there are countless online game web sites that I could be visiting, I acknowledge all of the other newfangled puzzle games in print; but for my money, give me a pen and a crossword puzzle anytime.  Yes, I said “pen” and not pencil.  The added dimension of not having erasure as an option just serves to heighten the crossword puzzle solving thrill.

As an adolescent, I looked forward to solving the crosswords in all of the children’s magazines my parents subscribed me to.  When the latest TV Guide appeared in the mailbox, it was a frantic footrace between my mother and me to see who would start working the puzzle first! 

For those of you under the age of twenty; a magazine was information that was printed on glossy paper and sold in stores or via postal subscription.  This was before you could obtain everything you need to know via web sites, social networks, and RSS feeds.  By the way, the Postal Service was the only alternative we had before email and text messaging!  You can learn more by visiting your local library.  Um, scratch that last thought.  Just Google it!

So what is the mysterious allure of this historical relic called a crossword puzzle?  The greatest appeal has to be that it presents a formidable test of one’s general knowledge.  You are forced to interpret obscure clues, limit yourself to the number of squares available for the answer, and make it fit with any other letters already entered from previous answers.  You find yourself constantly battling to make sense of the contradictory or obscure, only to find out that the ultimate answer was ridiculously obvious!

Life is a crossword puzzle as well.  We are presented with a blank grid where all of our answers will lie.  We have a series of clues that hint at the answers we seek.  As we determine what fits to satisfy a clue, many of the words intersect with one another.  If we make a mistake on an “across” clue, it can have devastating effects on a number of the “down” answers.  In short, every time we find an answer in our lives, it has consequences with respect to many of the other answers we seek.  An incorrect entry or a wild guess can have rippling effects across the entire puzzle called life.

There is no greater satisfaction than entering that final word that completes a crossword puzzle.  You carefully print the letters one at a time, double-check yourself to assure that all of the across and down hints are correctly answered, and draw a deep sigh of satisfaction.  Then comes the momentary let down that is inevitable when a project has been successfully completed.  You came up with all of the answers, you rose to the challenge, and then it was simply over!  A flip of the page cures this melancholy as you charge off to the next crossword puzzle in the book.

There is a curious fact about crossword puzzles.  In the event that you simply cannot come up with the correct answer, there is always an answer key at the back of the book.  You can turn a few pages and readily identify your mistakes or view that answer that has completely eluded you.  What if your life came with an answer key?  Would you be tempted to sneak a peek before completing the puzzle?  Would you look for shortcuts simply to assure that everything was correct and fit neatly?  Or would you persist in your efforts, counting on experience to see you through?

There is a certain pride that comes from meeting a challenge without the benefit of outside help.  The struggle becomes worthwhile in light of the satisfaction of piecing together the unknown.  When you complete one of your life’s crossword puzzles, you have grown as a person; you have learned about yourself.  For that, you are the better!

Say, can you help me out for a moment?  I need a eleven-letter word for “inner drive to help others” starting with the letter “i” and ending in “tion.”  We had better get it right too; I am using my pen instead of a pencil!

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About Jerry V. Dollar, Author, Humorist, Observer of the Human Condition

When not trekking around the globe, Jerry Dollar can be found in Colorado Springs, CO where he lives with his wife Robbi. Besides an affinity for writing and travel; he is also an avid bodybuilder, a very prolific reader, and an enthusiastic observer of the human condition. Jerry has published two books which are available on: Lulu, Amazon, Kindle, Nook, and IBook. "Announcing a Flight Delay" is a hilarious recap of the author's experiences as a million mile flyer. "A Dollar's Worth" is a collection of observations on the human condition, which originally appeared as blog posts. Dr. Dollar has served in various senior executive management capacities over the past 25 years. He has previously worked within the healthcare, insurance, software, and several other high technology industries. Jerry is recognized for his expertise in creating the foundations for emerging organizations to succeed in complex sales environments. He is also well known for his leadership in guiding technology companies through rapid growth phases. Jerry speaks five languages and has conducted business in over 70 countries on six continents. He holds particular expertise in the Latin American and Western European geographic areas. Dr. Dollar holds a BA in International Affairs, a BA in Spanish, an MBA in Marketing, and a PhD in Organizational Development. He has authored numerous professional articles, various training courses, and has conducted seminars and conferences around the world.
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5 Responses to Answers on Page 92

  1. Tim Chambers says:

    This is a quintessential blog post. Got me thinking, but seems like a “work in progress” rather than an essay with the answers. Nice touch with the clue at the end, Jerry. I won’t spoil it for your other readers. I’ll add what currently inspires me, though. Edward Tufte. Professor of the art of analytical thinking applied to visual displays of information. Google him. (A nit – verbs should not be capitalized unless they begin a sentence.) I’ve followed your activity on LinkedIn and would like to buy you a cup of coffee sometime. — Tim 1E4AF729D5CEFFD0

  2. ‘Infatuation’ seems right to me…

    • On Infatuation – a personal story

      Two weeks ago I presented myself voluntarily at the reception desk of the closed ward of a mental hospital. I exerienced a lot of stress related to moving from one appartment to another, while at the same time having to cope with a spriritual crisis.The open ward where the crisis intervention team permitted me to reside for a while, was closed in the weekend.
      Among other, sometimes fierce outbursts, I sang ‘this torch that I found, gotta be drowned, or it soon might explode’ in the hallways. Of course this was good enough a reason for the supervising psychiatrist not to let me leave the building with beauty garden, unless obeying to take his prescribed medication.
      That was no option for me. Although I was tempted by the offer to be able to use the piano on the premises a few hours a day, if I complied with their advise for me to daily swallow personality changing drugs.
      My altogether six days of imprisonment – material western luxury included – did get me organised!
      The first few days I thought I had finally arrived at a place where I belonged best, a place where I could help other patients, while at the same time giving the psychiatrists, doctors and nurses food for further studies. Now that I can enjoy the freedom of the outside world again, I think to be able to see that this idea was an infatuation. I think I instictively put myself in that hospital first of all for my safety, and to be able to enjoy and value my talents. The inner drive to help others was nothing more and nothing less than the inner drive to help myself.

      Thanks, Jerry, for your question. And the possibility to find and to share my answer to it.

  3. On Infatuation – a personal story

    Two weeks ago I presented myself voluntarily at the reception desk of the closed ward of a mental hospital. I experienced a lot of stress related to moving from one appartment to another, while at the same time having to cope with a spiritual crisis. The open ward where the crisis intervention team permitted me to reside for a while, was closed in the weekend…

    Among other, sometimes fierce, short outbursts, I sang ‘this torch that I found, gotta be drowned, or it soon might explode’ in the hallways. Of course this was good enough a reason for the supervising psychiatrist not to let me leave the building, with beauty garden, unless complying with my psychiatrist’s in training advise to take medication.
    That was no option for me, although I was tempted by her offer at day 5 to be able to use the piano on the premises a few hours a day if I would daily swallow personality changing drugs.

    My altogether six days of imprisonment – material western luxury included – did get me organised!
    The first few days I thought I had finally arrived at a place where I belonged best, a place where I could help other patients, while at the same time giving the psychiatrists, doctors and nurses food for further studies. Now that I can enjoy the freedom of the outside world again, I think to be able to see that this idea was an infatuation. I think I instictively put myself in that hospital first of all for my safety, and to be able to enjoy and value my talents. The inner drive to help others was nothing more and nothing less than the inner drive to help myself.

    Thanks, Jerry, for your question. And the possibility to find and to share my answer to it.

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