A SHARP LIFE: Lego marks 60 years, still a pain in the foot

Today, is the 60th anniversary of the patents of one of the greatest toys in history. Coincidentally, it is also one of the most profanityinducing toys ever to hit the market.

I am speaking, of course, of Lego bricks. Legos are made up of an ABS plastic polymer that gives every Lego piece strength, durability and a nice shiny finish. This means that as toys go they are all but indestructible. In the month since Christmas the average child has already broken approximately four toys, but Legos are probably not one of them. Our own 2-year-old Demolitions Expert has never even broken a Lego. They could become her nemesis.

In addition to the bang for your buck that Legos provide they are also well-known for building creativity and problem-solving skills. If you don’t believe me, pick up the February 2016 edition of The Journal of Marketing Research and read the article ‘The Downstream Consequences of Problem-Solving Mindsets: How Playing with LEGO Influences Creativity.’ Or you could just take my word for it.

Legos are indestructible and encourage creativity. Yet, parents typically speak of them in hushed tones as if they are the villain in a new Harry Potter book.

Parent 1: My kid got a box of The-Toy-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named for Christmas.

Parent 2: One year when I was a kid I got some Le… Parent 3 (interrupting): DON’T SPEAK THE NAME!

Ok, parents don’t really give Legos the Lord Voldemort treatment, but we probably would if we weren’t so tired.

No one who has been a parent for any amount of time can see, hear about or touch a Lego without thinking of one thing — pain. Which probably isn’t what the company is going for. Every parent has experienced the excruciating feeling of slowly sneaking down a hallway to check on their snoozing little angels only to step on a Lego. The ensuing pain is what Indiana Jones would have felt if he had been caught by one of those booby traps in ‘The Temple of Doom.’ Scientists tell us that there are around 200,000 sensory receptors in your foot. Step on one Lego and all 200,000 tell your brain, “Death is imminent; we should’ve had dessert today.”

I have a friend who swears that our strategy for the next war we fight should just be to carpet bomb the other guys with Legos. Like, maybe instead of the President telling us how much bigger his nuclear button is than Kim Jong-Un’s, he should just fill a bunch of cruise missiles with Legos and shoot them at the North Korean leader’s palace.

Of course, when he recovered from the pain of stepping on one he could use the Legos to build an indestructible palace, so maybe this isn’t the best idea.