I like to follow instructions. When I am running late for work, I take it a bit literally and jog sections of the sidewalk to make up for the crosswalk lights I have to wait for. Jaywalking makes me feel like a scallywag. I still have residual guilt about that red light, or really-dark orange light, I vroomed through last Sunday. I like to have things all laid out for me and follow those guidelines rather rigidly. And if you do not recycle or compost properly, I can become a bit insufferable.
Yes, I am a by the books kind of guy. Of course, even I need to scratch that little itch once in a while. My morning jog goes along a county trail that is technically closed during hours of darkness. (I have yet to see any official care, patrol, or ticket anyone.) There is no sidewalk, so I feel disobeying is safer. When I work my comic book shift, I do whatever the sam hill I please. Sometimes I will read a few higher-priced comics and it is pretty safe to assume that I will stream Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. while putting backing boards into bags. (It might slow me down a little, but not much. I can “bag and board” with my eyes closed. I have checked.)
I have kept a few toys from my earlier years. Puppets have come in handy for little skits. My PEZ collection has been whittled down to a select few. And yes, I had to keep one Transformer. The part of me that wants to believe I am an engineer thinks they are fascinating. I am drawn in by all the moving parts, the dual-roles of each section, and the careful steps that have to be taken in the more intricate parts. Care must be taken; broken plastic equals broken dreams. Follow the instructions and all will look spiffy and neat.
Insert LEGOs. I follow the directions. They give step-by-step instructions on how to build these complicated things, so I choose to obey the professionals. But for decades, I have shunned the “other things you can build with this set” pictured on the box promising more fun. Well, their definition of fun. My lofty goals are centered on replicating the process to the letter. Or, to the LEGO; if we are being precise. And why would we not?
Last month, that changed. I was watching television mostly to stay awake and it was not working. There is a lone Technic set I have kept over the years. It was sitting there on the carpet right by the fireplace. I ignored the, “what if the gears do not turn” and the “what if it comes out stupid” arguments and decided to be creative.
Say hello to my version of a low-riding ATV. Think a Mars rover meets the Batmobile. The tires let it drive up most obstacles (3-feet high in scale?) and the turn radius was amazing; something like 110 degrees on each wheel.
A great motorcycle? No. The handlebars were fragile as can be. And I admit the joint holding on the front wheel would have snapped on the first impact. But I wanted to use a funky piece. So I built around it and pronounced the result, “good ‘nuff”.
Are they worthy of getting their own special kit for the world to construct? No. Do they offend me with their messiness and lack of spiffiness? Nope. Breaking the rules and being a little creative is hardly the worst thing in the world. Even when you follow along, you still get a few interesting dilemmas.
Yes, there is supposed to be a propeller above his head. Honest. What is the practicality of a robot having a delicate spinning blade over his head while fighting Decepticons? Look, I do not design the toys. Lay off, Nit-Picking Nat.
I am always going to be a rule following, stick-up-his-butt nerd. Reading instructions and user’s guides makes me happy. I drive exactly the speed limit. And yet…
If a cute gal asks me to help her climb a fence so she can trespass on a lighthouse, I will probably do it. (Who are we kidding? She knows who she is. That gal got me to break more rules than… ahem. Worth it though.) Every rule-follower has their exceptions.
Being a goody two-shoe works for me. Being creative is a nice change of pace. Still, one has to remember that even fun experiments can go horribly awry.
It is a study in gears/ a helicopter/ a piston/ y’know what, they can’t all be great.