Lego, ergo sum

… he returns to his building blocks in preparation for the exhibition, rummaging through a bag of Lego. “Hear that sound? They feel so great. You know that feeling, when your fingers are chafed because you’ve been sticking so much Lego together? And that sound!”

Coupland continues to move his hand in a rhythmic, circular motion, making the hundreds of Lego bricks rattle up against each other. “I love Lego! I just love it!”
 — from Douglas Coupland has a plan: Let’s live in Legoland, The Globe & Mail, 4 June 02005.

I have always loved Lego. Not in a grown-­man-­builds-­working-­model-­of-­Pickering-­A-­out-­of-­Lego-­Technic kind of way, which would be weird (and would be more than nuclear engineers could do with the real Pickering A). Lego was such an integral part of my childhood that there was seldom a seat cushion that didn’t have a brick or too under them. And by Lego, I mean the real stuff; hundreds of little regular blocks (mostly red), not the modern stuff that you can make a B’Zurqar Battle Cruiser out of just two simple pieces. Things made from Lego were abstract. You had to use as much imagination to believe they represented the object you set out to make, as to make the object itself.

I predate Technic, though I had some of the proto-Technic gears and blocks. I used to make absurdly high ratio gearboxes out of the plastic spur gears and shafts, and crash them with satisfying gronks. We even made it to Legoland (for all of about 25 minutes), as we raced to catch the Esbjerg ferry in 1977.

The article about Coupland set me off on a serious Lego tactile jones yesterday. The Eaton Centre was about to be a site of great disappointment when I saw stacks of Lego buckets by the door of Toys Toys Toys. And not just any Lego; this was a classic 4028 Creator set, with hundreds of simple blocks. And it was reduced to $13!

So, yes, Lego still hurts to make — the sharp corners make a satisfying impression on the fingers. Prying them apart is still hard. And that sound!

Lego Owl

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