A Real Lego Maniac

Screw Zack, that Lego Maniac. He had nothing on me. My brother and I were Lego freaks. End of discussion. Who does he think he is claiming to be better than us just for being a Lego obsessive? Never was a kid more deserving of a swift kick in the groin to set him straight. Truth be told, my brother and I had thousands of those things called Legos all mixed up in draws from the hundreds of sets we'd built, demolished, and scattered to the floor ten minutes after tearing open. Okay, maybe not ten minutes, but they never lasted all that long. Playing with Legos was as much about the joy of creation as it was the folly of destruction. It was an activity where we got to play God, bestowing civilization on our own little Lego towns and disaster upon our annoying younger brother's. Legoland was at our mercy, and sadly, didn't survive, but its golden age was beautiful.

My dad hated Legos. He wanted to go fisticuffs with whatever "jerkoff" invented those little plastic bricks. Not surprising, because he was the one who had to step on them in the hallway at 3AM. And what a cruel irony it was that in the early years he was usually the one building the bigger sets for us. Now if only most instructions for things were like Lego instruction manuals... just pictures, no words, no seven different languages... some of us maybe would have been able to program VCR clocks or assemble Swedish furniture. Those instruction manuals were made for boys, just simple pictures because they know words are not our strong suit. And how right they were, seeing as I was calling them "constructions" for the longest time, rather than "instructions." At least I had the excuse of being six (dad didn't). ;p

Here was my castle: complete with draw bridge and the "gnarliest dungeon!" :

Once that Lego catalog came in, I was guaranteed to not want to pick up a book for at least a week. I used to sneak the Lego catalog into school and gloss over it whenever I had a spare minute. One day after the first Lego CD-ROM game "Lego Island" came out, my brother won out in the fight over who was going to bring that particular issue to school that day. I remember it as the day I took the longest "bathroom break" of my life without having gone to the bathroom. I signed out, and was off to the other end of the school, digging through my brother's cubby just to get my hands on that computer animated Lego Island comic strip it featured. But drats! The stinker had made off with it, and was smart enough to keep it on him.

The catalog was page after page of the latest sets in elaborate set ups. They always brought the world of Lego to life, leaping off every page (except the girls section) with excitement... cannons firing from the battleships, snakes hissing on the desert sand traps, and spaceships that fired pretend lasers! None of that came through out of the box, but I didn't care one bit. They always had a page toward the end where you could order parts if you were missing pieces, along with the Lego real-working Train and Technic series (for older kids).

Sometimes we'd take a trip to the toy store just for being good on errands or doctor's appointments, and mom would just have us pick from the tiny boxes at the end of the aisle. Even the cheapest little "pirate and cannon"-like set was enough to pacify us, although we got plenty of the big expensive sets as well. My brother and I both had the Lego castles. I had the black one with the draw bridge and my brother had the white one with the trap door. That's the only way you can reason with brothers, each one has to get a castle with something cool or else a real joust will go down, and the black and white knight have nothing on two jealous brothers.

We loved the pirate ships (but never got them), anything from outer space, the castles, the ninjas, and all their little themes, but then Lego started getting way too into merchandising. Lately they've been coming back with themes like "City" and "Town," and the Lego "Games" is an interesting idea, so I have faith in a Lego future beyond Lego Harry Potter. There is life after Lego Indiana Jones, thank you God.

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