The Little Prince once said,
“Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.”
In his case he was referring to a series of drawings he had done of a boa constrictor digesting an elephant whole, but it took me delving back into Legos recently to fully understand that I am the rule and not the exception to his blanket statement.
When I was was young I played with Legos. Thinking about it now, play may not be strong enough word. I was as serious about them as I was any toy in my possession. Now I will be the first to admit that I do not know the history of Lego products and playsets, but I can say with some degree of confidence that there were very few kits available back then. When you bought Legos, you usually bought some combination of rectangular bricks. Custom parts were few and far between and exotic colors were non-existent. There were no books with design ideas, and the Internet was the ARPANET back then, and you could fit all of its users into one room. If you wanted to build something with Legos, you were on your own. You needed an idea, persistence through trial and error, and obviously enough bricks to materialize your vision.
At the age of twelve, after having cut my teeth building countless houses and castles out of red, white, yellow and blue bricks, I received for my birthday the Lego Space Cruiser.
I am sure my chin hit the floor as I unwrapped it. Clear yellow bricks for a windshield! Hinges! An antenna! Rocket engines! My mind raced with the possibilities. Although I was certainly distracted, I was still polite and opened the rest of my gifts before tearing into what was obviously my favorite gift of the day.
It probably took a little extra time to assemble that first time, what with all the shiny, new bricks and all, but back then, like now, the instructions were excellent and easy to follow. Once constructed it was even cooler than I could’ve guessed. I played with it the rest of the day, and then I TOOK IT APART.
That simple action lies at the heart of my current quest, but more about that next time. To be continued…