Dear Residents of Providence, Rhode Island,
My name is Matt “Jigsaw” Sawyer, reigning jigsaw puzzle champion of the world. I take full responsibility for what happened over the weekend in Providence. I now clearly see my mistake. I do not expect for you to forgive me so easily, but please allow me to explain myself.
First, let me just say that I am no stranger to solving jigsaw puzzles in extreme conditions. In 2000, I solved “Kittens in a Basket” while on a roller coaster. In 2002, I solved “Colorful Tulip Field, Keukenhow Park, Netherlands” while at the bottom of the Atlantic. In 2005, I solved “Uh oh! Puppy Trouble!” while solving “Neuschwanstein Castle” while in zero gravity. And in 2007, I trained a robotic arm to complete “Apple Harvest!” so that I could get back to completing the double-sided “Apples For Sale!/ Mmm! Apples!” So at least when a person decided to complete a life-scale jigsaw puzzle of Providence on top of Providence, it’s obvious that person was a professional.
Second, my intention was not to start any sort of puzzle-enthusiast crime wave. Have I started puzzle movements in the past? Sure I have. I spearheaded the Edgeless Movement back in ‘98 when I discarded all the edge pieces during the world championship in Toronto. I knew that if I was going to stand out among the giants of puzzle history I’d have to rock the boat a bit. And at the 2010 Berlin Open, I accidentally pioneered the Kein Foto Movement. You see, when I dumped the pieces out of the box during the final round they all just happened to be upside down. I mistakenly thought there was no picture, that they were blank — which I just figured was a German thing. But believe me, I had no intention of inspiring puzzle enthusiasts to print busy urban intersections from Google Earth at life scale and then paste them onto puzzle pieces. I also had no intention of inspiring them to then painstakingly match those pieces onto the actual corresponding urban intersections in midday traffic. It was not at all my intention to inspire this to happen all over the world, in the busiest of intersections, during the holiday season.
I won’t deny that puzzling is my life. I solved my first puzzle when I was too young to even remember it. I’m told that when I was 10 months old I pulled some boxes off a shelf, that I was crushed by a 36-piecer, and that I had to solve my way out from under the bastard piece by piece. You see, I have moved through life by solving puzzles, but every puzzle I have ever solved has now been disassembled and boxed up or digested by sharks. Last weekend it struck me how ephemeral puzzling, as a lifestyle, is (which I realized was a mental puzzle in and of itself — puzzle humor!). I realized that I needed to do something permanent in order to leave my mark. With that said, I now see how actually supergluing puzzle pieces onto real objects was a bad move. For instance, the homeless man I glued his own face to. I’m told that he should only suffer minor permanent damage from the adhesive, but hey, that guy has been sitting there since Google Earth photographed that street corner in 2009! Providence is a major city. You can’t sit on the same street corner for four years and not expect someone to glue something to your face.
Once again, I take responsibility not only for my actions, but for the actions of those I inspired. For example, I apologize to the sleeping Alabama schoolchild who was mis-solved as another similar-looking schoolchild, and to her parents who were subsequently confused but later ecstatic when TLC agreed to make a show out of it. I apologize for all of the puzzlers abroad who defaced cherished monuments. As an aside, the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem was not solved! Everyone who took a piece of the wall took a real piece of it!
I take responsibility for the bad outcomes, but for the good outcomes, too. Archaeologists in Niger would have lost the crumbling cranium of the recently unearthed Ardipithecus africanus — an early hominid many are claiming as the missing link — if puzzlers wouldn’t have come by at that moment and solved it into place. And as North and South Korean puzzlers put together all the pieces of their shared border on top of their already existing shared border, they stood in silence as an innocent child put the last puzzle piece in place, thus symbolizing their shared humanity and how they’re all just solving the puzzle of life together. Even Congress decided to solve their own puzzle as a gesture of solidarity but promptly fell into arguing over whether they should solve the budget crisis or “Aww! Penguins!” — I never claimed to be a miracle worker.
I realize that this letter in no way redresses the full extent of the damage done, but I stand by all of the consequences of my actions, good and bad, because I am, and always will be, a proud puzzler.
Matt “Jigsaw” Sawyer
P.S. Tune in to TLC this Tuesday at 9 p.m. for “Picking up the Pieces: The Alabama Girl Who is a Puzzle of Her Cousin,” because I make an appearance!