Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:
It’s that time again! The Indiana State Fair is an annual celebration of Hoosier pride, farming, food, and 4-H, with amusement park rides and big-ticket concerts by musicians that other people love. My wife and I attend each year as a date-day to seek new forms of creativity and imagination within a local context.
We’re not as thrilled about carnival rides as we used to be, and the State Fair almost never invites musicians I like. In between snacking experiments, our day at the fair tends to be all about sightseeing, particularly in the area of Stuff Young People Made. As you’d expect, year in, year out, those young craftspeople love them some Lego.
Under the auspices of 4-H, kids statewide have the chance to compete in building competitions of varying categories. Sometimes it’s all about what they can create from scratch. Sometimes it’s about who can follow manufacturers’ directions best. Sometimes I wonder if kids put together sets like this Lego SHIELD Helicarrier, tell the non-geek judges they totally made it up, collect their purple Grand Prize ribbons, and look like construction wizards to everyone they know. All I know is on Lego.com this set is priced twice as much as my used PS3 was. Gotta admit, though, it looks much cooler.
Here’s the ship’s crew, straight out of Captain America: the Winter Soldier. Second-string Marvel TV characters sold separately, I guess.
Mind you, the 4-H Building didn’t have a monopoly in Lego displays. Over in the Harvest Pavilion, one of a dozen-plus buildings featuring exhibits about farming and farming accessories, a large table was dedicated to the Indiana State Fair Lego Farm. For kids who’ve never had the chance to inhabit a world where farmers farm for farming, this unique setup allows them total immersion into that strange world.
Lego crops stretch as far as the eye can see. Fortunately the table was cordoned off from us onlookers. All it would take is one really grabby brat, or someone dropping a heavy object, and all these rows upon rows of Lego vegetables would be pulverized and ruined in one fell swoop. Next thing you know, Lego people are starving while you’re lamenting your brand new Lego Interstellar Dust Bowl.
Potential disasters like that are why this enterprising Lego farmer is wasting no time and working eighteen Lego-hours per Lego-day to harvest those Lego crops so he and his family can survive the Lego winter. Little does he know, his State Fair overlords didn’t bother to build a Lego town market where he can sell his Lego wares. I sure hope he likes Lego corn, because he’s gonna be eating nothing but that while his entire property is sitting in a storage closet till next year’s State Fair.
Meanwhile at the next table is a replica of one of the State Fair’s newer structures, the Glass Barn. Built in 2013, its all-ages farming exhibits include low-power farming video games, farming video tutorials, scheduled Facetime interviews with actual farmers, and green-screen photo booths that allow visitors to pretend to pose with goofy farming backdrops. I have no idea if the Lego Glass Barn offers any of these amenities because tearing off the roof to see inside was strongly discouraged.
If the Lego farmers wanted supplies, they had to make the long, long trek from the Harvest Pavilion to the 4-H Building, where a Lego Bass Pro Shop was ready to serve their recreational needs. Or their hunting and fishing needs. Or their ammunition supplies. I’ve never stepped foot inside a Bass Pro Shop because the nearest one is 100 miles from here. So I’m about as knowledgeable about real Bass Pro Shops as I am about Lego Bass Pro Shops. They’re pretty much the same, right?
If modern-day Lego fishing isn’t your waterborne pastime of choice, step back 100+ years for a Lego pirate battle. Squint hard enough and you just might spot Lego Orlando Bloom counting his Lego blessings that he still has a Lego career, even on this alternate Earth.
Too close to now, you say? Journey backward several more centuries and join in a Lego siege on some forbidding Lego castle, no doubt ruled with a Lego iron grip by some Lego despot who deserves a Lego comeuppance.
Too close to home, you say? Imagine yourself traveling to a galaxy far, far away, where Lego Geonosians are mounting an attack and hopefully they put up a more impressive fight than they did in Attack of the Clones.
If you prefer the original Star Wars trilogy to the prequels, some enterprising youngster had you in mind when they assembled and submitted this Lego Star Destroyer, now on sale at Target.com for one-third the price of the Lego SHIELD Helicarrier. Unfortunately someone in charge knows nothing of our modern world and labeled this simply a “Lego Star Ship”.
Yes, folks, we live in a cold, cruel world where Lego Star Wars sets are being graded by judges who’ve only seen Star Wars one time. Or maybe even zero times. I don’t envy the kids forced to grow up in this dismal reality. Good luck to you, young misunderstood adventurers. I’d like to tell you it gets better, but honestly. “LEGO STAR SHIP”? REALLY? AND WHO EVEN SPELLS “STARSHIP” AS TWO WORDS? I bet even Lego Farmer Hoggett has seen the movies enough times to know the name.
To be continued! Other chapters in this special MCC miniseries: