Say no to the tyranny of LEGO

I can never be truly accepted into Danish society because…I hate LEGO.

I can never be truly accepted into Danish society because…I hate LEGO.

There I said it. Phew!! What a relief to get that off my chest! Feels great. It’s been sitting with me, not just since I moved here, but my entire life. Even as a kid, I’ve never liked LEGO. Bloody LEGO.

Why am I confessing such a mortal sin in a Danish newspaper, when I’ll likely be bricked to death and strung up outside the Rådhuspladsen as a warning to others?

Well, I’ve been writing this column for eight years now. I feel comfortable. This is a safe space. A place to be me. So, what is my issue? Well, it’s simple. Why would I want to make my own toys? 

When I was a kid, I loved playing with action figures; He-Man, Star Wars, Transformers. These were cool toys. They looked cool. They were robust, you could take them on adventures, fuel the imagination for endless storytelling.

And the best part? They came out of the box ready to go. Toy companies like Mattel or Hasbro kindly made their toys for you to play with. As it should be. Thank you. Take my pocket money – money well spent.

Not LEGO. You have to make it. It takes ages. Who has the patience? And when it is finally finished, you can’t play with it. Because it will fall apart. So all you can do is just look at it. And it looks bad. Blocky facsimiles of whatever franchise it was supposed to replicate.

I know this is my issue, so a few years ago I bought my son his first LEGO set. He chose a small Star Wars fighter because the picture on the box was cool.

So we got it home, opened the box. Those three plastic bags fell out, filled with bits.  My son looked at me, astonished. His large, doleful eyes saying “what the f**k is this? It looks nothing like the picture on the box. Is it broken? Why haven’t they made it?”

I looked at him, and I had nothing. I knew that crushing disappointment in his eyes. I knew he’d seen through the lie. 

The greatest trick LEGO pulled is convincing us to make our own toys. They’ve created a billion-dollar empire built entirely on fooling kids to do their job for them. Because unlike Hasbro and Mattel, LEGO can’t be bothered. And these kids are not even being paid. We are paying for the privilege – and paying through the nose!

I know what you’re thinking: “But Adrian, these kids are building LEGO voluntarily.”

But that’s just what they want you to think. Because no kid anywhere discovered LEGO on their own. They were all led astray by a parent or guardian. A sibling, cousin or friend. All enablers, pushing the LEGO agenda.

I was one of those enablers. I tried, because I thought as a parent that’s just what you did. Thankfully my son called me out. He is free. 

You might be tempted to start them early. Offer them LEGO’s gateway drug: Duplo. Ever wondered why those bricks are so big? So easy to click together? Because they want kids to be hooked fast. To crave more complex brickwork. That’s how they get you.

Before you know it, you’re an adult who still plays with LEGO. Terminal cases, locked into a life of construction. Lost causes hopped up on the hard stuff: LEGO Technic. Once you’re on that, you’re as good as dead.

So please, think twice. LEGO is a dangerous game. But remember. You have a choice. Good luck out there.