Lego and the Maniac

A bucket of Legos has been sitting dormant in our basement since the Clinton era. Not totally dormant. Since the bucket is now twice as full as when it got shoved under the basement steps, we assume the pieces get lively around Lego mating season.

Now that our youngest grandchild reached the Age of Reason, (no longer consuming every potential choking hazard), we excavated under the stairs and unearthed the red bin.
But before the grandsons are let loose on the toys their daddies played with, their grandma has work to do.

The sorting of the Legos has begun.

One grandson jump-started the process when he turned the bin upside down to find a particular Lego piece.
And I’ve now spent half an unabridged audiobook and two podcasts sorting the dross from the gold, tiny specialty pieces from the standard Lego bases and blocks, thumbtacks and screws from the $100 Star Wars set.

“Tacks and screws?” The alert reader may ask. Yes. If memory serves me correctly we didn’t give our children sharp objects to play with. Here’s what I think happened, in those long ago clean-this-mess-or-else days. They tended to sweep everything from floor and dressers into the Lego bin. Which accounts for the ancient candy wrappers, pennies, and Mancala stones. And K-nex pieces. Do they even make K-nex any more? I’m a little concerned about the counting bears. We used to have hundreds. Now down to two. Maybe Legos eat them as part of their mating rituals?

And what kind of high-falutin’ set did we buy that has chess pieces?

Also. I wouldn’t want to be alone in a room with the only fighting guy who has all his body parts.

These are the Lego accoutrements.

Tiny coins, chalices, leering heads and weapons.
Do you know that a 2 millimeter drinking stein is as painful to kneel on as a lumpy rock?

This sorting business is the kind of self-appointed task that leads me to reflect on the compulsive desire to do something stupid.

Like the child who throws a softball at a wasps’ nest. Mid-flight he ponders. Was this a good idea?

Like the suburbanite who rakes leaves while autumn gales blow or snowplows the driveway during a blizzard. In the upper Midwest we commonly refer to these as ‘exercises in futility.’

Like the gambler who puts all his money on the long shot at the track because the horse reminded him of his mother and too late wonders if he should have thought this decision through.

I should realize the the grands probably won’t fully appreciate the effort that went into the Lego Sorting Project. They most certainly won’t maintain the separation of bits from pieces for long.

Shouldn’t the little voice in my head say, ”Don’t you have more productive and slightly less futile tasks to do? Pay the monthly bills, feed your husband, clean the floor around the toilet from the last time the little boys came before they come again?”

Likely, I’ll continue to suppress the voice.

I’ll imagine the excitement I hope to see on my grandson’s faces when they find just the right Lego figure for their current make-believe scenario.

And that possibility will make this lousy idea, exercise in futility, poorly thought-out scheme all worth while.

11 thoughts on “Lego and the Maniac

  1. Ah, Prude, you’ve given validation to countless moms and grandmoms!!!!!!!! And yes, that facial expression is priceless! Thank you for this.
    You also did me the favor of replacing the ear worm I woke with. Now I’m singing: “You don’t tug on Superman’s cape, you don’t spit into the wind. You don’t pull the mask off the ol’ Lone Ranger, and you don’t mess around with Jim.” Ahdot doodeeot dee, deedeedeedee dee. 😉

  2. Wow, does this bring back memories! I can’t count the hours I’ve wasted–oops, I mean spent sorting Legos, even sorting toys in general. I’d commit a day to it, then feel quite good about myself with all those little Lego pieces in their sweet little drawers and compartments. Then whoosh! After one bout of Lego-play, everything is messed up again! My kids tore asunder what I so painstakingly put together. They meant no ill intent. They were just being kids and enjoyed living in the Lego-moment. 🙂

  3. All our kids loved Legos, and we accumulated an embarrassingly large quantity of them over the years. I don’t know of any other toy that can keep kids happily occupied for as long. From the time our grandson was born, I looked forward to the day he would be old enough to play with Legos. Finally one day when he was three years old and had ceased putting small objects in his mouth, I got out the Legos. I showed him all the multicolored building bricks, roof pieces, windows, doors, base plates, etc. He took one look at them and said, “Where are the characters?” He meant the people, of course. He’s seven now and still calls them “the characters.”

    • ‘The characters.’ Perfect!!!!! I have to listen and see what my guys call them. I can almost guarantee that if my oldest granddaughter plays with lego characters they will be Mommy, Daddy, and Sweetheart.

  4. I love this account of a similar process I went through within the last 10 years. Mine had a different catalyst, though. Once, at least a decade before that, after several warnings and cajolings, the day came when company was coming and we needed the table covered in a very ornate Lego village, city, castle set-up. In desperation I put all of those Legos in one large bin. My dismayed sons alerted me afterward to the fact that I had not only mixed up sets, but I had mixed one boy’s Legos with the other’s in a hopeless (they thought) mess. So years later one day I decided to sort them. We still had the boxes and/or directions. I put them back in boxes and sealed the boxes. It took days, but was amazingly satisfying. Then one day, three years ago, they received the ultimatum to remove all the sorted Legos to their own domiciles. I suspect they sold them, but all I know is that I no longer have a four foot high set of bins of Lego sets!

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