September 22, 2018

A kid at heart


There are no former Lego fans.

At least, I’ve never heard of one. A person may forget about them for a while, but when the subject is brought up, their eyes are likely to light up and they will eagerly tell of the sets they used to have.

Or still have. Those who grew up with the toy are likely to still have a couple sets around the house. Or a few large bins. “They’re for our future kids,” we’ll say, though perhaps that “future kid” is us, still a kid at heart despite all the years. I know I’d be the parent who buys sets “for my kids” when really I just want to play with them myself. Watch out, kiddo, you’re going to have some competition.

What is it about Legos? I had other cool toys as a kid and it’s fun to reminisce about them too, but they don’t quite hold that special place in my heart.

Now, let me say first of all that Lego, as a general rule, is ridiculously expensive, for some mass-produced pieces of plastic. You can usually count on each piece in a set costing approximately 10 cents, which adds up when there are 500 pieces. Plus, the company is pretty shameless — especially in the last decade or so — about riding the latest wave of fandom, from Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings to Marvel superheroes and Disney princesses.

But you have to give Lego credit for being pretty consistent. Unlike that old videogame that can’t be played on your new system, Lego bricks bought in the ’80s or ’90s can still fit ones bought today. The sets may be more elaborate and have a few new pieces or colors, but the toy can be continually built upon itself.

And something about it transcends juvenility. I don’t see many adults proudly displaying a Fisher-Price set. I’m sure there are some out there who collect Barbies or GI Joe. But Legos are versatile. You can watch a kid play out scenes with the minifigures, like with any doll, but you can also watch a nerdy adult carefully construct an elaborate castle taking up an entire table.

I recently discovered just how many of those nerdy adults are out there, via YouTube. They make me feel a lot more normal. The videos are a bit addicting, and the builds are incredible. You can’t deny the artistic and mechanical talent involved.

For those who don’t go to the extent of some of those YouTube people, or who don’t have the money to have quite that many bricks at their disposal, it can still be a sort of creative outlet, a stress-buster, like adult coloring or jigsaw puzzles, in which you’re still using your brain.

Why not?

Now, I’m not advocating going and spending your paycheck on the latest $100 set or sitting there playing with bricks rather than making dinner. But it’s OK to be a kid at heart once in a while, as long as you are mature in the things that really count.


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