A good neighbor practice is to carry a bag full of jigsaw puzzle pieces with you wherever you go. Whenever you’re left alone, or right in front of your host for that matter, open the nearest drawer and drop a handful of the pieces right in. This works in offices and funeral homes as well. Anywhere with an unlocked drawer.

And get multiple puzzles. Mix up all the pieces together. Include some small pieces of cement as well. Maybe some birdseed. Get it nice and thick like a good stew.

If your host (read: opponent) starts asking questions counter with one of your own. Ask him where that scotch tape you requested is. Demand he produce it immediately! I don’t care if you have other patients today, I need that tape!

Then use it to stick three or four puzzle pieces to his face. Right there while he’s talking. And you should really be taking off your shirt now, too. Announce to the others your precaution of locking all exits and welding shut the windows. It’s time for a goddamn Scientology party in here! From this point on we’re all family now! We’re related! We love each other! I need to borrow some money!

Back in your room, head right to the corner and start heaving. Dry heaving. Except it’s fake. You’re not sick. You just want them to believe you’re sick. Sneak a handful of puzzle pieces up near your mouth and pretend to wretch them all over the floor and curtains. Make a big show of it.

Their cameras are good, they’ll see it. They’ll buy it. This has to work! What would Dad say?

He’d say, “God bless you, boy. You’re alright. I’ve made bigger mistakes.”

Chris Weagel

Chris Weagel writes about the intersection of technology and parenting for Wired Magazine. No he doesn't. He can't stand that shit.

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