I’m not going to write about The Clone Wars. Not because George Lucas bullied me into an embargo. Lucas hasn’t bullied me into doing anything other than get the hell off his lawn, and that wasn’t so much him as the X-Wing patch-wearing security guards he has posted all over those Rodian-green hillocks. And it’s not because I’m disinterested in the thing. My friends and I have been marveling at the wonder that is the very idea of Stinky the Hutt all day. It’s just because I’m not seeing it, and I’m not seeing it for the very same reasons I don’t watch Hannah Montana or Faces of Death. I’m not the target audience, and I’m fine with that.
But it does strike me as a little odd that I spent three hours of my time this week building a Lego model of an AT-ST while not planning to see the new Star Wars movie coming out that weekend. My brother found it in the damaged goods section of, I’m assuming, some kind of store. The box was a little torn, but the pieces were all there. And I’m not offering that as an excuse. I’m not above buying Lego sets on my own. I’m very much beneath it, actually. Whenever my surprisingly hot girlfriend scours the aisles of Tuesday Morning for even more pillows (our house is mostly pillows at this point, and they rotate), I tag along to see if they’ve stocked a few sets. I don’t know how Tuesday Morning picks its merchandise, since it’s different every week, but I’m assuming it reflects the interest of whatever smugglers and villains whose trucks have been impounded in the last month or so. Lately, though, some Batman Legos have been trickling in, so I plopped down close to a hundred bucks for the Batcave and the Bat-tank. For those in the know on Lego pricing, you’ll understand what a bargain this is. Judging by MSRP, importing small hunks of plastic from Scandinavia must be about as expensive as FedExing Indonesian slave children overnight. (For those in the know on slave trading, you’ll get what I’m talking about.)
Putting together Lego sets can be as addictive as tonguing that sore on the inside of your cheek. No matter how much it hurts, I just can’t stop doing it. And sweet Christmas, does it hurt. My back is killing me. You’d think with all those pillows in the house there would be some kind of comfortable Lego constructing position I could find, but nothing’s as functional as tearing open the box, dumping all the pieces inside, and hunching over them while sitting cross-legged on a flat surface. Endless digging scrapes the skin away from your fingertips, leaving them raw nearly to the point of bleeding. That noise of plastic on plastic as you search for a skinny piece with eight pegs reaches a brain buzzing frequency that annoys everyone around you to the point of madness. But you don’t notice it anymore, because you’re already mad. CRASH, CRASH! Where is that piece? CRASH, CRASH! Sweet silence. There it goes. You squint to make out whether that’s a gray or black piece in the diagram. Hm. CRASH, CRASH!
The problem with building Batman and Star Wars sets (other than the fact that each click of block-in-block makes my surprisingly hot girlfriend less and less likely to ever fuck me again) is that you can’t find anything without a couple of hours of digging. Every Batman piece is black, and every Star Wars piece is gray. And while Lego’s paint techonology allows for pieces in two different shades of gray, their printing technology can’t quite keep up. Newer sets number each individual clear plastic bag of pieces in the order of use. Anyone Lego enthusiast (maniac?) knows this is bullshit. Being able to easily and efficiently find pieces takes all the pleasure/horror/excitement/boredom/pain out of the experience. It’s like fucking Cher with Frank Stallone’s cock. No, everything I hate about the Lego system is also a reason I love it. I am a cult member, and I’m fine with that. I built my seat at the welcome table out of tiny plastic bricks.
(Totally off topic, but while writing this an email from Pizza Hut popped up on my screen apologizing for sending me an email in error last week. But I didn’t receive an errant email from Pizza Hut last week. What game are you playing, Pizza Hut?)
Anyway, my completed AT-ST is kind of awesome. Its head turns very slightly, and the guns swivel. Some Lego hobbyists (maniacs) prefer to smash the as-instructed sets and build their own things. I used to do this as a kid, when I had a giant bucket of random pieces and an urge to create a futuristic Lego village where everyone dressed like Robin Hood and wore space helmets. But these days I’m content to finish them as they were intended and cram them on the shelf in my office next to every other token of my inexplicably absent virginity. (Framed Batman/Martian Manhunter/ Dr. Fate jigsaw puzzle on the wall? Check.) The AT-ST stands right next to my Lego snowspeeder, which sits beside my magnetized Cloud City toy from Taco Bell.
I guess I could go see The Clone Wars this weekend, but I’ll probably see Tropic Thunder instead. Even I have standards.
Behind every great book adaptation is a forgettable first try. — By Ryan Covey