Last night, I was looking after my grandson and there was a horrible toy accident: I knocked over his Lego Tower of Orthanc. It burst into 3 large pieces and an explosion of assorted scraps – a veritable hailstorm of tiny plastic bricks. You know that long, frozen moment you experience just before the dread kicks in? yes, I had it.
If you’re lucky enough to be unfamiliar with both Lego speciality building kits and the Lord of the Rings, I invite you to take a peek at this monstrosity on the offical Lego site. (I’m also jealous of you.) Note the age range on the box: 14+, which my grandson is most assuredly not; and the difficulty level of “Challenging”, which is Lego-speak for “you may lose your will to live before you finish this thing”.
I expected the little man to be upset when he saw what I’d done, but I was taken aback when he utterly lost his shit. It took some tearful time for me to understand that he believed his Tower was broken. To him, Lego kit assembly is a one-way process: once his parents put it together for him in exactly the way the instructions specify, it’s a finished object and it’s never meant to be taken apart again. He’s a bit too young to really grasp the deep nature of Lego as a building material; to him, the project is done once the bricks are clicked together, and any coming-apart is a failure.
Between the two of us, we managed to reassemble it in an hour or so with hardly any parts left over. As we puzzled it out, I tried to talk with him about Lego; about how it doesn’t have to stay forever as the thing it was first put together as, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t change his views very much. It might be something that’ll come when he gets older. (Probably after we’ve watched the Lego Movie a dozen more times.)
Later, after the kids were down for the night, I grafted together the ends of a cowl I’d knitted. I was just sort of winging it; it’s a plush squishy stitch pattern that I slapped a garter stitch edging on. When I joined the ends, I found that the garter edging – being thinner than the main part of the fabric – wants to flip inwards. At first, I thought to myself: oh, that will block right out. But really, that’s a lazy way of thinking… a thick warm cowl isn’t the sort of thing that should depend on blocking to look good and fulfil its function. On the other hand, there’s quite a few hours of knitting in there, and wouldn’t it be sort of a failure to frog it all?
I’m embarrassed to tell you how long it took me to see that yarn and Lego aren’t really that different; they’re just the material that gets you to the finished object you want – the bridge between your imagined desires and the real world. And staying committed forever to something just because it’s the first thing you built and you don’t want to take it apart? well, I guess that’s kind of silly. It wouldn’t be honest of me to dish out sage words to a kindergartener and then not take the same advice myself. So: me and my cowl will go take a dip in the frog pond and start again.
Besides, a fresh ball of Malabrigo is not exactly a terrible thing to have.