This “toy” is for a six-year-old, according to Lego. Hahahahaha, the joke’s on me. Putting this child’s toy together cost me one hour, 6,000,000 brain cells, and the comeuppance of incompetence. Cobwebs in there are cleared… for now. I have to confess that I felt rather puffed up as I snapped the last piece in place. Clearly, I am a late bloomer.
Literature on keeping your wits about you after a certain age includes crosswords, foreign languages and guitar lessons, but nary a mention of Legos. Such a pity, because I figure the skills it requires–organization, manual dexterity, hand/eye coordination, following instructions–will make sure I can find my keys for a bit longer. I’m thinking a Lego table would be a good brain health corner in every senior center.
My son stuffed our Christmas stockings this year with Lego kits and, in my gift-opening-holiday-zeal, I put mine aside for later. It seemed like my son was playing a good joke on his sister and parents but his intention, I later found out, was for all four of us to sit around the table and build our Star Wars vehicles together. Sadly, the morning didn’t go like that.
Mom finally cracked hers open a month late and said to herself, “It’s small, how hard could it be?” Put another way, I used to think I was smart. Some of these pieces, I’d swear, were 1/4”. The first challenge was spotting which piece was next. My eyesight’s been going south so thank you, Lego, for detailed pictures on every page. Big red arrows and everything. Note: press pieces together firmly BEFORE advancing to the next step. Falling apart on Step 5 means backtracking to Step 2. Over and over and over again.
My husband Bill snuck up to capture my progress after the mumbling drew his attention. Playing with Legos wasn’t painful but you’d never know it from the expressions he captured. Which, by the way, you’ll never see here. Another thing, from this senior’s point of view, “playing” is not how I would describe this experience.
I should have seen this coming. We had supplied my son all through his youth with enough Legos to loop the block. Enough to require the purchase of fishing tackle boxes to house them all. At that time I thought of Legos as just another toy and was happy he had something he was passionate about. In fact, he still has this massive collection, which was something he happily brought out of storage when his own son turned Lego age.
Recently my son showed up with a gift he’d bought for himself, a Lego kit that resembled his own motorcycle. The Technic Series, BMW R1200 GS Adventure. We cleared off the table, shuffled colorful pieces into piles, and for the next three hours fed the parts to Mr. Hawkeye Nimblefingers. I am late to the game, but the design and intricacy of how 603 tiny pieces become one still impresses me. I bow to you, Legos.
Weeded out: The notion that keeping your nose to the grindstone, me all my life, is any better or more productive than having fun. And, in fact, play just might be the most important of all.