Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Confession or Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.

I have hobby that most people wouldn't characterize as an adult activity, worthy of our precious adult attention. It has no production value and resell of products used is not possible. It could also be thought of as just plain childish.

So here it goes, in 12 days I will be a 30 year old man, with a successful career and a decent social life with many friends, who puts together Lego sets. Primarily Star Wars Lego sets.

I'm a geek and this should have not be a surprise to anyone. I mean, I'm a geek whose primary interest outside of computers is engineering. I watch How it's Made and How Do They Do That on the science channel. So not a real shocker as far as I am concerned, however, the first year I dated my P.I.C.(tm), my wife gave me a Super Star Destroyer Lego Set for Christmas.

My PIC was surprised at my interest in Legos. Legos are, after all, simplistic puzzles that teach structure and ingenuity. She was right, putting most Lego set together isn't difficult, all you have to do is follow the instructions. There is complexity and organization and some of the premium sets and collectors are difficult and some even require architecture experience. However, my interest lied in Star Wars sets.

My obsession with Star Wars is secondary and so I'll talk about it some other time.

So what was I getting out of doing something so childish? Well, when I put together a lego set there is a calming effect, a sense of purpose and direction, and it gives you space to do something simple while your brain works on all the big complicated things in your life way in the background. I get this feeling when I do art and I'm really into a run but much stronger. The Legos provided a low level environment that I could tap into any time without having to produce art.

It would sound cliche and hipster for me to refer to it as meditation but as my PIC pointed out earlier this evening there is an age limit on hipsterism. Colloquial reference to some activity as zen or meditation was in style when I was young. I was also a pagan once, so fuck you(no not you, that guy, him, over there).

My Lego set building is a form of meditation.

I think I just died a little inside.

Now, I will admit to certain, normal, human idiosyncrasies such as nostalgia and childhood recapturing.

First, it's true that I had a lot of Legos when I was a kid. I was obsessed with the Lego Castle sets. I wanted nothing more as a child than to be a knight, loved by a soft, warm maiden, going on quests and wars for the king with righteous certainty.

I think that may have something to do with a video I found when I was young. It was an unmarked VHS cassette that contained two porn movies, one of which was a knight and a curvy red head going at it on a bed made of hay bales. I do not, however, like hay bales or fucking on hay bales. I've had sex in a hay field was an unpleasant atmosphere.

Second, in addition to that bizarre Freudian complexity above, I could never keep any of my sets together as a kid. I lived in a very large household, of which 60% were children. We were all within 5 years of each other and so toys were always shared. Sometimes with great reluctance. I could never keep any of my models together longer than a day at most before my lovely family members torn down what I had build. So now, I want sets that I can put together and admire without the interference of asshole siblings.

Third, now that I'm an adult with the a fore mentioned good job, I can buy what I want. Growing up poor in a big family can leave you with some weird material possession issues. I own, compared to most the people I know, very little and keep around less.

Fourth, and the last Delta I pretty sure, is going to be all those internal mental processes I can't touch or perceive: the internal mental structure that some how links Legos, Star Wars and the minor achievement of building models to dopamine and serotonin release.

Now, in my defense, the people I hang around with spend a great deal of money, time and effort into finding ways to strip away the concerns of adulthood and modern society, and regress their minds to the joys and wonders of life as a child. Sometimes you just want to stare at the pretty pretty lights for 4 hours straight.

That is my defense.
That is my denial.That is my confession.

Judge if you want. It makes me happy.

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