I received my first set of interlocking bricks when I was seven years old. Actually, I probably received my first set before then, but the first set I can remember receiving was when I was seven. It was a bucket of bricks with two figures: one wearing a yellow shirt, and one wearing a red shirt. And they were not Lego-brand blocks; they were Tyco. And they weren’t mine alone; they were for my brother and me to share.
Even though the blocks were toys we only played with at my grandmother’s house on the weekends, we quickly discovered that we liked playing with highly-sophisticated interlocking brick systems, and so the number of blocks we had grew. As Tyco bricks became harder to find, they branched out into Lego brand bricks (which were mostly compatible with Tyco, except where Tyco had half-brick-height blocks, Lego had one-third-brick-height blocks). As the block count grew, so too did the mini-figure population.
My brother and I could share. We shared blocks that nobody was using. We would build things and tear them apart. But if we built something, that something was ours until it was dismantled; then the blocks became communal property again. To have something relegated to the “spare parts bin” meant it and its pieces were available for whoever needed them next.
This was true of the blocks. It was not true of the minifigures.
Perhaps this was because of my ability to give things personalities. From stuffed animals to puppets to a pair of socks, I can tell stories with inanimate objects and make you feel emotions for them. As such, a minifigure could not simply be relegated to the “spare parts bin.” And as I could not trust anyone else to maintain the personalities I had created, the minifigures quickly became “mine” and “yours.” And with divisions among the minifigures, there were differences of opinion over how best to play with the Legos.
Naturally, to solve this problem I wrote a Constitution. It’s what any 10-year-old would do, right?
This Constitution guided our play with the Legos for the next eight years. Every three months (with very few exceptions), a new Congress was elected. Not so the president – I made sure that in the Constitution, the president was elected for life. Treaties were signed with other toys and wars were fought. Amendments were made, particularly when my youngest brother became old enough to join us in our Lego fantasy land. Congress passed additional laws. A Civil War was fought. The entire history of a nation was written in my grandmother’s basement.
Looking back at the constitution, it is almost laughable. Parts of it are vague, it has bizarre priorities, and the political ramifications of such a system are mind-boggling. I could not spell the word “Rule,” so the spelling “Rull” became the traditional spelling for the Constitution; subsequent re-writings (as amendments were consolidated into the main document) would maintain that traditional spelling. Once section is called the “Rights and Roman Numerals” because it is a listing of rights where the outline uses Roman numerals instead of Arabic ones. This document is really an interesting insight into the mind of a 10-12 year old. But it worked. It provided a framework of play that lasted for quite some time.
The document I have here is the latest version of the Constitution I could find. The earliest draft is long gone, but this is the version that was entered into my Legoland notebook. It is presented here for your political entertainment.