At the end of 2019 into the early, once hopeful, days of 2020, I was given two Lego sets. One was a ‘60s Volkswagen bus, the other the same company’s classic Beetle design. It was the first time in years I had ever put together a lego set. I loved it! It was great fun and wonderfully exciting to see the vehicles take shape. The beetle even came with a surfboard to accent that “California Cool” vibe that one associates with that era.
As 2020 bore on into the hell year it was, and to a degree will still linger into 2021 a while, I was given yet another Lego set. A Christmas morning surprise from my mother who gifted me the most intricate Lego set I had ever seen in my life. A 3,306 piece, two-foot-long, six-inch tall, Lego model of the Batmobile from the 1989 “Batman” movie. Now, you all know your boy loves Batman, particularly having grown up in the era of the late ‘80s/early ‘90s Batmania craze.
That particular Batmobile design holds a huge place in my heart. It just looks right, and I had so many toys based on it. Tim Burton’s “Batman” was the first movie I was ever obsessed with, and the only movie I ever wore out a copy of on tape. After all 2020 had thrown at us, getting that particular gift, of that particular vehicle on Christmas morning woke a certain kind of magic in me. Similar to a home video that exists of me on Christmas 1989, opening a gift and exclaiming out loud “It’s the Batcave!!!” (A toy I still have, by the way, who gets rid of their Batman toys?)
Lego sets have changed since I was a kid, and the epic book that came with it—seriously, the instructions are over 400 pages long—showed how you open numbered bags in order, building on it section by section. The Batmobile model in total uses 24 bags of Lego parts. I’ve worked my way through the kit, starting on Christmas day and working on about two bags a day. As of the writing of this, I’ve finished exactly half of the model, with 12 bags left to go.
What I wasn’t ready for, was just how relaxing putting the model together has been. After a year filled with stress, anxiety, uncertainty, worry, fear, constantly checking Twitter, to just be able to sit and focus on a project was incredibly therapeutic. I sat in my basement office, music playing, following the instructions, getting lost in the assembly. Thrilling with delight as each part of the car began to reveal itself. I’m not just putting together any Batmobile, after all, I’m putting together THE Batmobile. The one that captured my heart and imagination all those years ago. The one that I have judged every other movie Batmobile against.
There wasn’t anyone on this planet who was a bigger fan of Batman than ‘Lil Andy Ross. He wore Batman shoes, Batman pants, Batman socks, Batman shirts, slept in his Batman bedsheets, with Batman plush bedside him, Michael Keaton’s Batman on the wall looking over him, and watched TV in a custom made Batman chair his Godparents gave him.
To go into a little zen world where I could get that same feeling of exclaiming “It’s the Batcave!” when I saw that the machine guns on the Lego model will rise up from the car’s body just like they do in the movie. It’s been the self-care I didn’t know I needed. It’s been wonderful to spend happy hours working on the model, and thinking of where I’m going to display it when I’m done (Seriously, it comes with a lego display stand that lets you rotate it around).
So as we enter the hopeful-yet-still-uncertain days of 2021, I hope you can find something to give you the same sense of Zen I’ve gotten. Get yourself a lego kit! Put it together by yourself or with your kids. Find something to give you a mental detox from the world. Your sanity will thank you, your brain will thank you, and your anxious mind will thank you. See you next week.