No, I didn’t swear in my headline. But I’m definitely swearing in my head.
In my last blog post, I waxed rhapsodic over an event so heartwarming it renewed my hope in the human race. Heck, it was so great it almost made me want to go out and hug a Republican.
And then it all went wrong.
To recap: James May, famous presenter on the fantastically fun car show Top Gear, invited children and their parents to help him create life-size items out of toys for his upcoming television show, James May’s Toy Stories, with the aim of getting kids off the couch, away from the TV, and using their imaginations again. His requests were met with such enthusiasm, he had more than enough volunteers to easily create some amazing stuff, including a life-size Lego house.
Not only was it two stories tall, with a kitchen, working bathroom, bedroom, etc., the volunteers added some lovely “special” touches. But more on that later.
It was constructed on a temporary site at a winery in Surrey, and after filming was completed, it was to be taken away and preserved at the U.K. Legoland. But that’s not what happened. At the very last minute, the reps from Legoland said that they couldn’t take it because it was too expensive to transport.
“Too expensive.” This, from a theme park that charges an arm, a leg, and your firstborn son’s soul for admission…without benefit of a squeaky-voiced mouse to justify the exorbitant cost. They don’t have enough money. Sure.
I’d bet my Lego Star Wars X-wing fighter (yes, it’s mine, not my son’s) that it’s more likely they got their plastic panties in a bunch because, as they complained, they weren’t “consulted” during the construction. If they had, they said, they would have been able to advise Mr. May and crew on how to design and build the house that would have made it easier and cheaper to move. Right.
Let’s translate that, shall we? They got their plastic panties in a bunch because they didn’t get free publicity by being a part of Mr. May’s TV show.
But that’s the point, isn’t it? The house wasn’t supposed to be constructed by a money-grubbing corporation; it was supposed to be an adventure for families. You know—something fun and free of product tie-in overkill. Something innocent.
So the Lego house was left high and dry at the eleventh hour, and the vineyard needed the land for their grape harvest. With only one weekend in which to make an appeal, Mr. May and his friends at Top Gear put out a call for someone to step up and save the Lego house. But there wasn’t enough time—plus certain rules dictated that only someone in the U.K. could rescue the house, and if it was knocked down, the bricks could only go to charity.
Yesterday, to the dismay of Mr. May, who had hoped the house would be preserved as a testament to everyone who volunteered their time to build it, the structure came down in a flurry of sledgehammers and crowbars.
Still, I thought, there was a bright side: The whole thing could be considered a variation of a Zen sand mandala (and just as colorful, too), a testament to the impermanence of everything, especially beauty. Not meant to last forever, the Lego house was admired by all, and the hard work that went into it was appreciated, and then its time was over. Yeah, I could see it that way. That was all right, almost.
Until I read about Fusker.
Fusker is not a slightly altered swear word; it’s the name of Mr. May’s cat—a very handsome jellicle who’s resided with Mr. May in London for several years. A fan who volunteered to work on the house created a life-size replica of Fusker out of black and white Legos. Crouched on a tabletop beside a healthy-sized Lego mouse, it truly was something to behold—it looked just like the flesh-and-fur Fusker, right down to his little white mustache. Really impressive.
And then, just before the Lego house came down, a few visitors asked if they could walk through the house one last time, and a trusting soul gave them permission. That’s when Lego Fusker disappeared.
Yep. To add insult to injury, somebody stole Mr. May’s special memento. How low can you get? How callous? Yeah, just go ahead and stomp on the little seedling of a brighter, more kind-hearted world. There ya go. Oh, and while you’re at it, why not abuse a few puppies, steal some babies’ pacifiers, and pull out the whiskers of the real Fusker if you’ve got the time?
On its Web site, Top Gear posted their address at the BBC, where a contrite individual harboring a cat-shaped pile of Legos could return Fusker, no questions asked. I want to believe that Fusker will arrive in the mail, really I do. But thanks to the behavior of a few proverbial “bad apples,” I can’t help but have a hard time keeping the faith.
In my previous post about Mr. May’s adventures, I dared to suggest he was changing the world by asking people to play. Expressing joy through lighthearted play does make the world a better place, helping us all smile a little more, not to mention reminding us what life is all about in the first place.
So I’d also dare to hope that a little disappointment in the forms of a Fusker filcher and a petty corporation can’t dim the candle that Mr. May has lit, can’t push us closer to cynicism and bitterness instead of trust and joy.
Come on, then, Lego Looter—prove me right. Return Fusker, so we can carry on making this world a little brighter, one Lego at a time.