The new Lego catalog has arrived. In order to see it, however, you will have to peel it out of Five's sweaty, small hands, where it has remained for almost every moment of the past three days. It is the last thing he touches before he leaves for school, and the first thing he asks for when he returns. Then he curls up in a chair, or lays on the couch, and fondles the pages like it's some pre-pubescent version of Playboy.
Five is the only one of our children to fully embrace Legos. Two had a passing interest, which produced some cool Speed Racer cars that still exist intact today. Five has deemed them "old," because I think he wants to break them down for parts. But other than those two, no other pack members have possessed the mental fortitude or spatial skills to complete construction on more than two items.
Like all good addictions, Five's obsession began with a taste-a small "Star Wars" Lego kit with less than one hundred pieces. Smitten, he progressed to vignettes of chariots and castles, giant snakes and desert treasure. Now, he is fully in thrall to the beast with two backs. Or at least, the beast which can be created by assembling 1500 light and dark grey small blocks. There's no turning back. His Christmas list is comprised of a dozen kits that range in price from thirty to two hundred dollars. He says price doesn't matter, because Santa doesn't buy the Legos; the elves make them.
I see where this is headed. After a while, there will be no way to satisfy the craving. He'll need a bigger, more potent fix. An "Alien Conquest Headquarters," followed by the "Tower of London." Ultimately, there will be nothing left but "The Death Star," followed by a painful journey through de-tox and rehab. It's inevitable.
But I'm not going to discourage him. Who isn't enthralled by the transfigurative nature of the plastic pieces? Who hasn't wondered what kind of tortured, artistic geniuses create those beautiful manuals, sadistic in their subtle shading? Are not Legos a symbol of universal creation itself, drab building blocks tranformed into complex things of beauty?
This morning, Five asked to take the catalog with him to school. I hesitated, recognizing an escalation in the pathology. But I handed it to him, with instructions to limit viewing to recess and bus time. Besotted, he clutched it to his chest as we walked out the door. Who am I to deny him the power of Creation?