The Great LEGO Build
How Long HAS it Been: 10 years, 5 months and ~16 days.
Why: I challenge you to find someone who’s youth did not include LEGOs.
What it was then: LEGOs were a pivotal part of my childhood. Some of my first memories involve a red LEGO briefcase I got when I was 3 or 4 for Christmas, filled with basic LEGO blocks. As the years progressed, this became supplemented with spaceship blocks, medieval castle pieces, and carefully machined mechanical “Technics” parts. Surprisingly, this allowed for growth not only creatively, but gave me a solid concept of engineering- I’m fairly sure I wouldn’t understand rack and pinion steering if it weren’t for the Technics cars I built.
Most importantly, it gave me a common language within many of my friendships as a child. One of my oldest, dearest friends, who’s newborn child will soon inherit my LEGOs, spent long hours with me building spaceships around the age of 8. The fantasy-scapes Cody and myself created grew larger with age, until we hit that tragic point in life where we put them away in favor of our rock band and pursuing ladies.
Flash forward to 2002, Cody was preparing to leave to go on a religious mission to Brazil- while we’d both already gone to separate states for college, we still saw each other every few months. This departure now marked the first point in our lives where we’d actually have to part company. On many levels, we lacked the emotional tools to cope with this. I knew he’d be back, but two years was a long time to be away from a friend you’ve spent most of your life with.
So, knowing no better way to sum up our previous 10 years of friendship, we unpacked the LEGOs of our youth and began to play. Friends stopped by to wish him off, some stared in confusion at the 18 year olds playing LEGOs, but many sat down and joined. Then, when it was time to say goodbye, we put the LEGOs away quietly, and he left for Brazil.
What it is now: I’ve noticed all great Brave New challenges have at least one large group event. This one was it. Myself and several friends sat down for “The Great Lego Build”, held to celebrate a friend’s birthday. We all went to Toys R’ Us beforehand, and were challenged to find sets that reminded us of childhood wonder. Many complained that modern LEGOs are fundamentally different, containing mostly specialty pieces. I feel this might be a false persistence of memory, as I THINK most themed sets in our youth were also specialty pieces, not interchangeable with other sets. Either way, I noticed many took different paths.
The genders quickly diverged- the girls almost all sat down with the basic blocks, and focused on building houses and villages. Angela, fracturing the gender binary slightly, did build a house of horrors, filled with dismembered arms and built out of blocks with eyes painted on them. Zack created a series of abominations, piecing together planes and trucks with cat heads and lasers. Also he made a lego human centipede. If you don’t get that reference, please don’t look it up.
I built an alien tripod to to lay siege to the village, and Ivan built a fully articulated Star Wars X-Wing.
Perhaps most interesting was Sohail, who purchased the most intricate Technics set I’ve ever seen. He noted that it was of a scope and price that his mother would never let him have as a child. And it was a truly glorious endeavor. It looked like it would take dozens of hours to complete the fully functional crane he had purchased. He let me help out a bit, and I probably hogged the project longer than I should have- but I will say, I think Sohail really got something out of tackling this build. Much like Super Ghouls N Ghosts, there’s something very refreshing about endeavoring to achieve a goal you never could in the past.
Enough talk though, let’s check out the build!
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Epilogue: In case you were wondering, Cody did come back from Brazil. He did not have a baby posthumously. Also, the lego village constructed at The Great Lego Build was demolished, though I am assured the alien threat has since been neutralized.