Monday, March 21, 2016

First Encounter With The Rubik's Cube

Rubik's Cube
Rubik's Cube is still a fantastic toy.
One of the coolest things about the 80s is the pop culture that permeated everything. And one of the strongest pop culture icons of the 80s is the Rubik's Cube. Right now, as I type this, I'm looking at two Rubik's Cubes that I own. They are originals that were bought in the early 80s. Probably 1982 or 1983. When I hold them in my hand and really "feel" the weight and texture of them I can transport myself back to those days when I first held one in my hands and was fascinated by it.

Like any decade the 80s can be divided up into sections. There is the early section where a lot of what makes up the decade is defined by the decade before it. For example, in the 80s there are several songs that are considered 80s songs but were released in the late 70s. There is the middle section where the decade can stand on it's own as a decade. It is what it is. This is usually a very short time in the mid decade. One or two years at best. Then, there is the late section where the decade starts changing and starts defining what the next decade will start out as. The Rubik's Cube is an indicator of that.

The Rubik's Cube was invented in 1974 and through a process eventually became an iconic toy in 1980. Our family moved from Missoula, Montana to Seattle Washington right before the spring of 1981. After a very weird and dreamlike couple of months we settled on Bainbridge Island in the (then) quaint and charming town of Winslow, Washington. Of all the places I've lived in the United States I would rank this as my second favorite. But, that is another story.

In the process of moving from Montana to Washington something happened and it's hard to explain. Things became more "electric" and "vibrant". It's not that Missoula wasn't electric or vibrant but, maybe, it was because a change of scenery and the excitement of something new. Even then I don't think it was that because a lot of people that I met and knew in Washington felt the same way. For some reason the world was a different place and for the better. Who knows. A lot of it could be attributed to being young at the time and experiencing a new thing.

One of the things there was a buzz about was this new Rubik's Cube. I remember holding one for the first time. What's funny is I don't remember the house I was at or who the owner of the cube was but I do remember picking it up. The weight of it. Turning the pieces. The sound it made when you hefted it. It was wholly unique. "Don't mess it up," was a common mantra from people who had one and you just happened to pick it up. Occasionally you met somebody who knew how to solve one and he let you mess it up good and proper. Then you'd be amazed as he quickly solved it.

Later on variants came out like the Rubik's Pyramid or the Rubik's Snake. I never got into those that much though my little brother did have a Rubik's Snake. I would mess around with that while sitting on the couch and watching television.

As far as solving the things: I never did really figure out how to do that. Also we never did the trick where you took the stickers off and rearranged them but I do remember my brother taking the actual cube apart and putting it back together solved.

The Rubik's Cube...still a fantastic puzzle toy today.

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