Jackson Breit

How I Met the Cube

Jackson Breit (14, USA)

Our family chiropractor was very friendly toward children. Smack-dab in the middle of the office toy bin there was an oddly oriented Skewb. My dad called it a Rubik’s Cube wannabe. Of course, being five, I had no idea what that was supposed to mean. At first I thought its sole function was to shift around like a purposeless Transformer. Naturally, my ADD brain was fascinated by this toy and I fiddled with it up until the time we left. From then on I was bent on twisting this thing until the sides fell off. I had no idea that it was meant to be SOLVED; such a notion that this strange colored shape was a puzzle was beyond me.

skewb rubiks cube wannabe

Three years later, when I was eight, we had changed chiropractors and I was thirsting for more of this strange shape-shifter. Christmas was soon coming, and so being the average American child that I was, I asked for one of these twisty puzzles as a gift.

My parents, who grew up with the Rubik’s Cube, bought me the real thing: a 3×3, white opposite yellow, green opposite blue, red opposite orange stickered Rubik’s Cube. When I opened it on Christmas morning I didn’t know what it was at first. My dad started shifting the sides, trying to loosen it up for me. I watched, realization dawning: THIS was a Rubik’s Cube.

Later that night, my brain was (as you can guess) in a state of bewilderment. One might as well have tried to explain calculus to me. This thing had 43 quintillion combinations and I was supposed to SOLVE it?! It remained almost untouched for several days until my dad finally did something about it: he went to Rubiks.com, downloaded the old 2010 PDF for “You Can Solve the Rubik’s Cube,” and sat down with me to solve the infamous puzzle.

After a huge amount of effort, time and mental exertion, I got stuck on part one: the white cross. It wasn’t very surprising for my age, but I was still determined to solve it no matter what it decided to do to my brain. I spent the next few months tediously trying to process the steps. Finally, at the yellow cross, my dad waited until I went to bed and solved it using a cube solver site. Well, I was not to be delayed in my task so I mixed it up and went at it again. Sadly, a blue sticker soon came off and I got too discouraged to continue. The cube sat in a toy bin until it was thrown away when we moved.

Some years later, I had earned some money taking care of the neighbor’s cats (Neo and Gizzy, I dedicate this article to you). Later, I went on a buying spree at a local store. This small, tiled, faster Rubik’s Cube was sitting quaintly on a pile of other random toys, as if challenging me to pick it up after all those years. I took it home that night, once again printed the PDF, and got to work. Being older, the steps were easier to process and memorize, and soon I could solve it in almost no time at all. Learning the Rubik’s Cube has opened a whole new world for me, and I am now a twisty puzzle aficionado.