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The Joy of Rubik’s Cubes

The Joy of Rubik’s Cubes

And why you should learn to solve one, too

If you’re restless during midterm season and looking for an instant way to improve your quality of life, I have just the thing for you: a Rubik’s Cube. It might sound like a lame idea at first, but hear me out.

The Rubik’s Cube is a famous 3-D puzzle game in which the goal is to make every side of the cube the same color. While it’s notorious for seeming extremely difficult, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, I’ve often thought that if I were a grade-school teacher, I’d make a short lesson plan just for Rubik’s cubing. Ultimately, it would give my students more opportunities in life than any equation or poem, and furthermore, they would be cooler people because of it. 

I still remember the first time I solved a Rubik’s Cube. I was in sixth grade, and at that time, my dad (who is a sucker for anything related to math) was going through a Rubik’s Cube obsession. He was completely enthralled by the total number of combinations possible with “such a simple design,” how many moves the most efficient solution would require, and how  algorithms were created in relation the cube’s state and position—for me, I just saw him fumbling around with it and thought being able to solve one would be a cool party trick.

Thankfully for my 10-year-old brain, solving a Rubik’s Cube can be as simple as following some diagrams and memorizing a few patterns. A week or two later, I was working on it under my school desk when I finally rotated the last row into place. Instantly, I felt like I had cracked the code of life. The world swirled around me in a groovy, psychedelic way. And in that moment, I was no longer a mere child—I was a Rubik’s Cube god.

A few years later, I had amassed a collection of them—more than a dozen, of all types and even from different parts of the world. Solving Rubik’s Cubes became a serious hobby of mine, to the point where I brought them with me everywhere. Thus began my revelations about the many benefits of knowing how to solve one. I present to you my startling findings to unequivocally convince you to invest in a Rubik’s Cube too.

Benefit #1: A Rubik’s Cube is a great alternative to a smartphone for those moments when you’re standing around in a public space and doing nothing and wishing you had some friends to talk to (what). In those moments of boredom, solving a Rubik’s Cube makes you look extremely occupied, not to mention rather august. How many other mundane activities can offer such an incredible combo? 

Benefit #2: That said, the speed with which you solve a cube is directly proportional to how interesting you appear, especially to people you don’t know. This makes for great conversation starters, which may well lead to great new acquaintances. You never know what kind of person you may meet because you know how to solve one. For example, maybe your parents have a cute story of how they first met while dancing at a college party. Imagine how impressed your kids would be if you told them you met your spouse while dancing at a college party while also simultaneously solving a Rubik’s Cube.

And finally, benefit #3, the strangest of them all: Rubik’s Cubes serve as excellent good luck charms. It sounds odd, but like any proper scientific theory or claim, I have irrefutable evidence.

When I was in fourth grade, before I could solve a Rubik’s Cube, I took a test that was supposed to determine if I was a good fit for our school’s accelerated learning program. Unfortunately, I didn’t make the cut. To this day, I don’t remember what happened, but according to my parents, I was quite distraught.

In fifth grade, I was selected to take the test again—it was at this time that I first began to be interested in Rubik’s Cubes. I took the test, and miraculously, I passed! The correlation is clear: my luck had been enhanced by mere association with a Rubik’s Cube.

I can now imagine a bunch of you who have taken any stats class protesting with indignation, declaring, “correlation does not imply causation!” I’ll admit, perhaps this scenario can be passed off as coincidence. But coincidences do not often repeat themselves—and this phenomenon repeated itself many times over. 

Basically, starting from seventh grade through the end of high school, I included my ability to solve a Rubik’s Cube on each resume I submitted to any sort of application-type program. I usually added it as an afterthought to give my resume a certain edge, like that one Magritte painting of a living room that looks completely normal except for a train coming out of the fireplace. It wasn’t meant to amount to anything more than that.

But as the years went on, the cube’s power was undeniable: after my traumatizing rejection in fourth grade, as long as I mentioned my interest in Rubik’s Cubes in my resume, I was accepted by every program for which I applied. This fact became even stranger when I realized that, while I always put my best effort into my applications, I was not a particularly impressive person compared to other equally as hard-working applicants. Eventually, I made the connection: the Rubik’s Cube was a lucky charm. With it, I was unstoppable. 

Thus, the years went by, and before I knew it, it was time to apply for college. Even then, I still considered continuing my “Rubik’s Cube Resume” tradition. However, this time, it didn’t feel as appropriate. After all, this was the culmination of four years of hard work in high school, the event that I had been preparing for since I entered the American schooling system. As a responsible young adult, I eventually realized what would be best for me. 

Which was including the Rubik’s Cube, of course. 

I carefully inserted it as the last bullet point in my resume: “able to solve a Rubik’s Cube in less than 1.5 minutes.” Then, I sent my documents away, closed my computer, and waited in anticipation to hear back from the (hopefully very impressed) admissions office. 

The days went by until, finally, decision day arrived… And well, you can guess what happened.
So this is my PSA of the day: learn how to solve a Rubik’s Cube! I guarantee strange, awesome things will start to happen to you in no time.