try my best to bring as much “awesome” into my kids’ lives as possible. We go on nature hikes and I teach them about all the creepy crawlies we see. We build epic lego Super Star Destroyers. We’ve got a real working 1983 stand-up Star Wars arcade game in our garage. Heck, we built a freakin’ hovercraft in the backyard. I want my kids’ lives to be filled with magic. I want them to look back on their childhood and think “Wow. That was amazing!!” I want them to look around at the rest of the world and know that what we had during these precious, fleeting years was truly something special… something above and beyond… something legendary.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not looking for anyone to stroke my ego. I know my kids are having an epic childhood. But just when I’m starting to feel good about my epic dad-ness, something comes along to remind me not to rest on my laurels. I’ve known this feeling before. Right after I finished Episode V’s amazing Optimus Prime Halloween costume, Ron Fugelseth exploded onto the internet with his “Toy Train In Space” video.
Making its way through various dorky social media channels this morning, this collection of pictures stopped me in my tracks. Check out this monsterous Lego build of Helm’s Deep (from “The Lord of the Rings” for those of you who don’t know) by Rich K and Big J. It’s made of more than 150,000 bricks and 1,700 mini-figs. It weighs roughly 160 lbs and takes up an area roughly the size of a ping-pong table. At the moment it’s about 90% complete, but the entire completed build will be on public display at the Cincinatti Comic Con Expo in mid-September, and again at BrickWorld in Ford Wayne Tx. in late-September.
Call me crazy, but I see a project like this and think to myself “I could totally do that!”
Then I do a little quick mental calculus to see what it would take to make it happen in my house: 150,000 pieces at roughly $0.16 a piece (retail) comes to about… $24,000. That’s OK. Episode VI doesn’t need to move out of the closet into an actual bedroom for at least another year or two. Then there’s the build time. The two guys who put this together said it took about 4 months to build. Since I’ll be doing it largly by myself let’s count on 8 months locked away in the garage working — not interacting with my family. And while we’re talking about the garage, I suppose we’ll have to park the minivan out on the street for the next 8 months, since the garage is the only open ping-pong table sized workspace in the house.
$24,000. 8 months away from my family. My wife dragging all three kids out in the rain to get them in the car. <<sarcasm>> Sounds like a plan! Let’s do this! <<sarcasm>>
Naw. There’s no way a responsible father with three little younglings who need to get to T-ball, and ballet practice, and open houses yadda, yadda, yadda, could make something like this happen for real. But you want to know what I CAN do? You want to know what could possibly be even MORE epic than building a $24,000 Lego replica of Helm’s Deep in your garage?
Taking your kids to the LegoExpo, seeing the display in person, turning to them with a wink and a knowing look in your eye and wispering quietly to them, “We could totally do that.”
Because we totally could.