People come in three distinct groups when it comes to LEGO.

The first has nothing short of disdain for said building toy, their only interaction being a cacophony of curse words as they step on one- barefoot and blaspheming.

The second class knows what LEGO are and is familiar with them. Perhaps they started with Duplos and got a few sets through the years.

The third group, of which I am a member, nerd out at the very thought of the endless possibilities that LEGO can provide. Furthermore, LEGO is both the plural and singular form. You do not say “legos” when talking about a stud brick, flat plate, or door. It’s all just LEGO. You probably think that last bit about singular and plural usage is rather smug. You would be right. Don’t hate the builder.

The above context is to frame a day that I had recently with my son, the reason for my LEGO re-enlightenment. In our kidless days, the back room of our little house was part theatre, computer lab, arcade, pipe and cigar lounge, and general area of leisure and relaxation. The movie theatre portion is still true, especially when you consider the fact that I am like the cinema custodian who has to clean up refreshments post film. Instead of popcorn and cola however, I have to sweep out Cheez Its and empty Capri Suns pouches.

The computer lab was never much of a lab in the first place. Facebook Marketplace shopping or “How It’s Made” videos were more likely. I am confident that I have seen every “Thomas & Friends” video known to man, but who knows.

The arcade games (my old XBox) have been replaced with Nintendo Switch games and ample accessories. Real men don’t use the term “triggered”. (See The Beta-Male Handbook for more information.) So, I prefer “raged out” when explaining my new hatred for old school (and new school, I guess) Mario Brothersesque video games. I would like to take this opportunity to note that rage is not really manly either. We should be able to handle ourselves, but triggered- come on, dude. The things, back to the games now, are impossible. When your 5-year-old has to repeatedly remind you “It’s okay dad. Keep trying; you’ll get better” the realization that one’s gaming abilities are all but depleted is crystal clear.

The time or two a month I would fill up a bowl of my favorite tobacco (with the side door open to the outside and a fan pulling the smoke out) has ceased, at least in the house.

More recently, I told my son that he could move his LEGO sets and storage bins to the back room. He was ecstatic. His excitement only barely beat out my wife’s relief, who may have shed a tear when I told her the living room would be LEGO-free.

Yesterday, as he was still getting over the last stages of a cough, I got to stay home so she could get to a meeting in Indianapolis. We started our day with smokey links, raspberries, even more Cheez Its, and a half-hour of an old Super Mario Brothers cartoon that I didn't even know was in existence until he found it. From there we played with some LEGO, myself sorting for the good part of an hour and the boy Frankensteining various minifigures into his own creations. Victor Frankenstein had his monster. My son has his LEGO and when I get into my overly meticulous way while sorting he will start to mess with me. I set out to make them how that particular set’s designers intended. He knows this and will consciously alter them, the little turkey. More on that momentarily.

With a moderate amount of shame I acknowledge that the amount of LEGO sets that my son has is probably over a hundred. When you take all of the pieces necessary to make said sets, add the minifigures, their accessories, and other assorted LEGO paraphernalia, the task of sorting can be quite daunting. I came upon a great way to sort which involves about six storage towers of six trays each; each tray weighs about five pounds when full. And let me tell you, those suckers are packed to the brim. Using a smaller sorting tray within a tray that somewhat resembles a cutlery holder in a kitchen drawer, each minifig and accessory now has an assigned space. Hats of various types went in a few small squares. Anything torso-related goes into another. There is an entire tray devoted to Star Wars which got the (molded plastic) ball rolling. One small place is for tools and items that can be held with teeny c-shaped hands. Still, another larger section is devoted to the various legs a minifigure could have. Armor and helmets have their designated acreage too. I could go on and on (and have somewhat) but you get the picture.

The hardest part of the whole evening was when Doctor Frankenstein -- or “Fwankenstein” because those darned “r” sounds -- began operating. Imagine the legs of C-3PO, the torso of pirate, the face of a Buzz Lightyear, and hair that could probably have fit on Hermione Granger all being placed into one improbable piece of plastic. The little rascal will make about five of these creatures from the yellow lagoon and place them on my finished table, just to see my reaction! He is me 31 years ago, and many people told me this would happen one day. I couldn’t be mad if I tried.

Some of his creations are so hilarious that a machine couldn’t have been more creative if it were programmed to make figures in random mode.  Speaking of creativity, the same is true of his ability to recall from memory what each and every character is supposed to look like in set form. For example, I have to look up each torso, head, hat, legs, etc. to see how the proper layout is for said minifigure. My son can look right at it, tell me what set it’s in, sometimes tell me where we got it -- a superpower of sorts. Sure, he chooses to Frankenstein at times, but at least he knows how they started out.

In order to display what we have, LEGO makes these excellent, gargantuan plates. On these we’ve decided to just put rows of minifigures. One entire section is for Harry Potter characters. Another plate is devoted to LEGO city and creator set minifigs. We need the entirety of a gray plate (the 64er) to fit the Star Wars ensemble. In columns ready for battle, The Light Side and the Dark Side are arranged so that the full array can be called into action.

This boy is spoiled. When we were finished, he smiled, told me he loved me, and said “This is awesome Dad!” I could not have agreed more.

The only problem is that I work from 7:15 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. and between the two other kids my wife watches, their six little hands have the potential to undo the work that we (mostly me if I am being honest) completed that day. I locked the door to the backroom and threatened, as much as you can justifiably threaten three kids at or under the age of five, to tell them Santa would know if they moved any of the stuff or dumped any of the trays.

Fear instilled and prayers sent, one can only hope for survivors… ya know, little yellow ones, not the kids.