When the Rubik’s Cubes fad first began in the early 1980s, my friend Gary became obsessed with solving one. This was long before the internet, where you can now find solution methods easily. Gary carried the Cube with him everywhere, spending hours each day working on it until he finally figured it out. Then, of course, he had to show off his newfound skill to pretty much everyone he worked with (or met).
I was the opposite. I tried to solve a mixed-up Cube exactly once, got frustrated, and quickly lost interest. I had more important things to work on, like getting single women my age to pay attention to me for more than five seconds.
I hadn’t thought about Rubik’s Cubes again until today, when Stuart Snyder sent me this video of a 12-year-old Chinese boy named Que Jianyu solving not one, not two, but three Cubes simultaneously — while juggling them. This was on the TV show “iDream Of China,” which could just as easily have been called “China’s Got Talent,” but without their equivalent of Simon Cowell. Que’s goal was to finish the task in under 5:21, and there were two representatives of the Guinness Book Of World Records on hand to not only certify his success, but also to twist and mix up the faces of the Cubes in the first place.
The video I’ve embedded below should start just before his attempt, but if it doesn’t, drag the slider forward to 7:35 in. Everyone’s speaking Chinese, but you’ll easily understand what’s happening without captions.
After watching this, I typed “Rubik’s Cube juggling record” into YouTube, which took me to a video from 2016 of a user named Rubocubo, juggling and solving three cubes in under twenty seconds — five minutes faster than Que! So why did Guinness give the record to Que? Because it turned out that Rubocubo was forced to admit that his ridiculously fast time was actually achieved through digital effects. Therefore, no record for him, and all credit to Que.
I just know that as soon as Gary sees this, he’ll dig one of his old Rubik’s Cubes out of the closet and work on juggling while solving them — and for that, I apologize to his wife and kids and co-workers.