If there's one word guaranteed to make any sane man weak at the knees, make his mind race and his mouth go dry...
Some of you may have read before about my almost slavish devotion to Ole Kirk Christiansen's building blocks. I can't remember a time when I wasn't surrounded by the colourful little beggars (and neither can I remember a time when at least one of my parents wasn't shouting 'Oooyah! Damn your eyes! I've just trod on some Lego! Pick it up before I wear your bladder as mittens -And yes, both of my parents were pirates of the South Seas before you ask!)
There's just something about the absoute mutability of it all. You can pick up a couple of decent handfuls of shiney plastic and make virtually anything with it. There's no guarantee that it will look anything like what it's supposed to be anywhere outside your imagination, but that doesn't matter.
You CAN make a scale model of the Titanic with four 'eighters', two flat 'sixers', a wheel and a Darth Maul lightsaber.
It's perfectly reasonable to expect someone to recognise that what they see as a pile of clear red and blue 'fours' are a steampunk version of the Mona Lisa wearing a pirate hat and cuddling a weasel - (If they can't, then they're imaginatively inept - You should shun them - Shuuuuuun Theeeeeemmmmm!).
My dear Son (Gawd bless him and all who sail in him) - In whose name 50% of the Lego is bought, likes to make guns. He doesn't constrain himself to just using Lego, he'll use sticks, cardboard, geese, cheese, anything really - But when we gets the Lego out, all bets are off. It's like there's an arms race between Rube Goldberg and Rowland Emett - His guns become fragile things with cogs and flags, they often also have windows and/or teeth. The one thing that most of them have in common is a removable magazine of some sort, A stack of blocks that can be connected under the breech (Oooohh, get me and my firearm vernacular!)
I asked him once, when he'd made a multi-coloured contraption that looked like a 3D model of the London Underground system mixed with an Avocet.
'So, where's the magazine?'
'You mean the clip?'
'Yeah, clip, of course, silly me,'
'Here,' He replied, removing what looked like a horse-headed duck.
'Gotcha, it's good that it has one of those.'
'Well, if it didn't, there wouldn't be any bullets,' He switched to the tone of voice that adults used to address the mentally challenged or new-born babies, shook his head and continued, 'And that wouldn't be a very good gun would it?'
And then the end fell off and smashed into a zillion pieces...
For every Cutty Sark we've made, there's been a three-legged centipede, for every Statue of Liberty, there's been a purple, one eyed, banana with rocket engines and an umbrella. Don't think it's just me and the boy though, Oh no! The MiniDandy gets involved too, but her constructions tend to be significantly more identifiable, houses, gardens, lakes and icebergs - that sort of thing. Mrs Dandy occasionally takes a few minutes off from rocking backwards and forwards repeating 'Look at this mess, I'm not going to clear it up, it's not my mess.' to jam a few bricks together, from what I remember, she does a blinding small duck. (To clarify, not a small duck with a large spike coming out of the front of it - Although that would be perfectly possible, a small duck that is quite realistic - as far as one can be and still be made of Lego)
I could evangelise all day about Lego, I know for a fact that my Blog is read by at least two AFOLs (Adult Fans Of Lego) and one fully certifiable 'Brick Wizard' (He has a hat and a badge and everything, probably), and no, I don't mean certified.
But it comes down to this - Lego is the best toy that has ever been invented by man, It encourages thought, creativity, dentistry (as anyone who has ever tried to seperate two flat blocks of the same size with their teeth will attest to), co-operation and parallel thinking. It prepares the little blighters for their adult roles, teaches problem solving and introduces them to the joys of the National Health Service and new words like 'Forceps' and 'Hemostat' when the nice doctor is trying to retrieve an orally, nasally or anally inserted minifigure head.
I honestly believe, that if you have children that have gone past the 'put every gorram thing in their mouths or up their noses' stage and they are dextrous in any way, and you HAVEN'T bought them any Lego (or MegaBloks, or Kreo or whatevs, I'm not on the payroll - But Real Lego is bestest, obviously) Then you're a bad parent.
We have a truly epic amount of Lego, most of it contained in a bedsheet, in a box that is about 24" x 18" x 18" - The horde of minifigures and associated accessories that we have fill another, slightly smaller, box - Which contains the instructions for many things that we will probably never build again.
My one problem... The only rattlesnake in the yoghurt... Is how do I stop the idiot puppy from eating it all when it's spread all over the floor? The little faeces factory is constantly hungry but doesn't take the time to check that what he's about to ingest is actually edible - I think he's had a good half a dozen Lego tyres already.
Ah well, I'm sure something will spring to mind - Maybe there's an opportunity there to solve the problem using the problem itself? An on demand puppy feeder... Made... of...
Have a good weekend guys, if any of my male readers (with children) fancy a free bacon sandwich and are near Derby on Saturday morning, between 10 and 12, Pop into St Mary's Church on Boulton Lane, Alvaston - And I'll sort you out...
Who knows, there might even be Lego!
(What there won't be is religion - seriously, there's just bread, bacon, newspapers, rock music and toys - The Vicar might turn up, but he's cool, he's just there for the meat.)