Pieces of We

Almost two years ago, Lego released their first Mini-Figure series. These are specialized singular figures only (not from any other sets) in mystery foil packs* with sixteen in each series and Kai and I have collected our favorites. Series 5 just came out less than a month ago. We jumped in at Series 4 at Legoland on our last family vacation. I was looking for the Werewolf for my sister. Kai started out trying to find all the figures with helmets; I wanted all the monsters. My first was Frankenstein’s Monster, then the Werewolf, Mummy, and the old Fisherman. I know, the old fisherman is not a monster… keep reading. Once I learned of the Zombie from Series 1, I had to get it. I found it on Amazon for way more than the $3 retail cost (along with The Robot for Kai). The Vampire was also from Amazon for less than $2.

I’ve always liked monster movies as far back as I can remember, despite being so incredibly frightened as a kid. I still vividly remember, when I was about 7 or 8, watching a black-and-white version of Dracula at night at my grandmother’s house. Or, maybe she just had a black-and-white television. Anyway, there was a woman in a white night gown unconscious on a bed, and a man hiding in the closet, terrified. Dracula flew in from the balcony window and approached the woman. He paused and you could hear the heart beat of the guy in the closet from Dracula’s vantage point. He said something to the man in the closet, knowing who he was, and left, I think. That scene has been stuck in my head for a long, long time and I don’t know which version of Draclua it’s from. I almost don’t want to know.

There were plenty of other not so family-friendly vampire/horror movies at friends’ houses who had HBO and parents who either didn’t care or… well, didn’t care. At one point, my other grandma took me to the movie theater to see Fright Night (1985). As far as I knew, monster and horror movies were normal. Being scared is normal, right? I used to be petrified to get out of bed at night, thinking that as soon as I set foot on the floor, something will grab my leg and yank me under my bed… I still have a hard time going to sleep with any part of me hanging over the edge of the mattress. Logic has very little affect on fear. It’s pretty safe to say that vampire and monster lore is somewhere buried deep in my psyche. And, so is Christmas music. Go figure.

Fast forward about thirty years — I’ve got some life under my belt and my world view has changed quite a bit. It recently occurred to me that all these monster stories have something in common (besides obvious plot lines, bad special effects, and horrible piano music): they are capitalizations of isolated and extracted and flawed characteristics of humanity, of myself, exaggerated and exploited. Monster movies remind me of what I don’t want to be. And seeing them now as little plastic toys with semi-adorable faces disarms them.

Mindless, relentless, obsessive (the zombie):

Lego Zombie Mini-Figure (Series 1)

Lego Zombie Mini-Figure (Series 1)

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Bound, lifeless, destructive (the mummy):

Lego Mummy Mini-Figure (Series 3)

Lego Mummy Mini-Figure (Series 3)

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Fractured, alone, misunderstood (Frankenstein’s creature):

Lego The Monster Mini-Figure (Series 4)

Lego The Monster Mini-Figure (Series 4)

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Angry, manic, depressed, uncontrollable (the werewolf):

Lego Werewolf Mini-Figure (Series 4)

Lego Werewolf Mini-Figure (Series 4)

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Cold, parasitic, selfishly passionate (the vampire):

Lego Vampire Mini-Figure (Series 2)

Lego Vampire Mini-Figure (Series 2)

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Okay, now this is where the old fisherman comes in as patience and wisdom and old-fashioned manliness, instead of all this monsterness. Not the kind of manliness that seems so prevalent today, but the quiet, gentle, discerning kind. The kind of manliness that isn’t pushy, obnoxious or loud. The kind that knows how to treat everyone and knows how to ride out the storms. The kind of manliness that does not react to time (or the lack thereof); rather, he responds with tact and thoughtfulness, compassion, warmth, strength, and dependability.

Lego Fisherman Mini-Figure (Series 3)

Lego Fisherman Mini-Figure (Series 3)

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Becoming a bad-ass fisherman means conquering of all these inner monsters. I’m not sure I can cross many of these off my list yet on my journey to becoming a fisherman. Some days are better than others, though.

* Mini-Figure individual foil packs from Series 1 and 2 had a second barcode that identified which figure was inside. As of Series 3, Lego no longer used a second bar code, thus making the packs more of a mystery, unless you got really good at feeling for certain pieces.

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