An Essay By Paul // 10/7/2000

An interview of Paul for Apricotpie about toys

Let’s talk about toys. What are some of your memories of the first toys you played with?

I remember getting a big box of cars from my grandma and grandpa and being thrilled. You could see the cars as if there were no wrapping over them; they were just tied in to the package. They were all bright and shiny. Some had little designs painted on them. Some of them looked like they were supposed to be “panther cars,” or I thought that anyway, and I remember feeling disappointed that they weren’t all “panther cars.” I liked cars that looked like panthers because my brother used to tell me stories about panthers. He had a huge poster of a panther in his room. The stories were spooky.

I know you like to have battles with your Legos. Can you talk about that?

When I play with figures I like to give them a personality. It’s not really a personality that’s going to stick, although sometimes it is. During a fight, I never say, “This guy’s dead.” I just say he’s down. For one reason, I have a relationship with my figures, and for another thing, I don’t like to think of it as a real war, because those are really terrible.

What do you like about Lego battles?

It’s fun because you become the commander of a whole toy army. You can have whatever you want in your battle—piles of blocks that you make into boulders that topple down on people or boats made of legos and have a hurricane come during the battle—you can take them outside, make steps into a waterfall; you can have it be legos against big star war figures; you can use your stuffed animals as huge ferocious beasts, and it doesn’t matter what you have, whether it’s legos or star war figures. Any toy you can bring into battle. Sometimes the battles go on for days, or they can be over quickly, like light saber duels.

Do you have winners?

Yes, I always have winners. No, they ‘re not always the good guys. When I play I don’t know who’s going to win. And I don’t suddenly give magical powers to the good guys so that the good guys win. I suppose I kind of disapprove of having the good guys win always. Suddenly some guy gets a blast of magic into him and he beats Darth Vadar –I don’t quite agree with that. Why not? Because I like to have the battle figured out. Suddenly from nowhere another huge fleet of Legos come in and defeats the other side---

You’re having trouble thinking why you don’t like that. I wonder if it strikes you as unrealistic.

That’s true, though I still like to have unusual things happen in the battle.

But maybe not as quick ways to get out of trouble?

Yes, that’s right.

How do you feel about having someone come over to have Lego battles with?

There are advantages and disadvantages of playing with someone else. When you play with someone else, you don’t get to play your way, with your plan. But the advantage is that it takes less time to set it up, and there are surprises. You get to see their battle going on.

Tell me more about the figures…

I like to make the figures act out what I’m thinking. If I feel like making a figure amazingly heroic I’ll do that. Or sometimes I don’t feel like having a battle, so I’ll just talk for the figures. They’ll be planning for that battle. I also like to build different fighting scenes for them. I like to pick generals. I don’t make the generals lead them. The generals usually take on the generals from the other side. I like to mix up different types of warriors-- Samurais, Navy guys, pirates, soldiers, little Star War guys, transformers, anything I feel like. It makes it exciting.

Do you have a favorite Lego man?

Probably the new Samurai—Shanghai Surprise. He’s a general and he’s different from the rest of them. I also have a special Ninja. I made him have one eye, and recently I made him a pirate. He’s one of my most powerful guys, and whatever side he’s on, he’s a real threat to the other side. He has a gun, and I know that most Ninjas wouldn’t have had a gun, but I gave it to him. I have two red Ninja’s and they’re the leaders of all the other Ninja’s. The Samurais never use guns but I have the spearmen and the Ninjas use guns. I t can be a disadvantage to the Samurais that they don’t have guns.

Your birthday is coming up. What is something you hope to receive for your birthday? More Legos?

Yes! I’d like a set from the days of knights—it’s a joust with two jousters and horses and a king who is sitting in a medieval structure with stained glass.

Good Luck!


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