Take note, because this is what a president looks like.
Tonight, President Obama is saying farewell to eight years in office, and he’s doing it in the classiest way possible. As the centerpiece of his final nationally televised speech, he is clicking through a four-hour PowerPoint of all the incredible jigsaw puzzles he’s completed while in the White House.
Democrat or Republican, you have to admit the president is really bringing it tonight.
“I started off with basic puzzles, 500-piece pastoral landscapes and tropical aquariums, and then I moved on to the harder stuff,” said Obama moments ago as images of completed puzzles scrolled by on the screen behind him, at times growing visibly emotional as he fondly remembered jigsaws like Monet’s Water Lilies and van Gogh’s Starry Night.
Over the past two hours of scrolling through the hundreds of puzzles he’s completed, Obama has also showed off his quick wit, cracking up the audience with stories about his jigsaw struggles over the years:
“The M.C. Escher stairs were tricky to put together, because the stairs go in all kinds of crazy directions,” said the president over the crowd’s laughter. “Usually you can figure out which way a jigsaw piece is supposed to go, but not with the ones of M.C Escher pictures. But that’s what makes them fun.”
Obama took time to thank his family earlier in his speech for all the support they’ve given him throughout his presidency, in particular noting the giant 1500-piece Marvel Comics puzzle Michelle bought him after the Benghazi attack rocked his administration and Sasha and Malia’s “invaluable assistance” in helping him construct a 3D puzzle of the Death Star.
In a reflective mood tonight, the president has been willing to acknowledge his failures as well as his triumphs, admitting that losing a piece of a Monsters, Inc. puzzle still haunts him to this day:
“Sully is missing an eye,” said the president before taking a long, emotional pause to collect himself. “The piece fell into a floor vent, and I can see it down in there, but I can’t reach it. I called the puzzle company and asked if they could send me a replacement piece, but they don’t sell pieces individually. I thought about buying a whole new box just to get that one piece, but it seemed excessive to spend another $14.95 when I already had the rest of the puzzle.”
“I hope my successor has better luck fishing that piece out of the vent than I did,” Obama added, choosing not to mention Trump by name even once in the past 120 minutes of his puzzle showcase.
Despite his setbacks, Obama has made sure to point out the signature accomplishment of his term: building a scale 23”x17” Lego reconstruction of Big Ben. “Technically it’s an architectural model, not a puzzle, but it has lots of pieces you have to put together in the right order and it’s pretty complicated to build. In my book, that’s a puzzle,” explained Obama, displaying the eloquence and intelligence he’s been known for these past eight years.
Tonight’s four-hour puzzle presentation will go down as one of the best presidential farewells, and just one more historic moment in President Obama’s monumental jigsaw career. With two hours to go, we can’t wait to see what other puzzle-related anecdotes we learn tonight.
So long, Barack. We’re gonna miss you!