Jacksonville, North Carolina
My older brother, Joey, pulled a familiar plastic, blue bin towards the carpeted floor at the foot of our shared bunk bed. Joey was an 8 year old kid on a very distinguished mission. A mission that motivated him despite having a powered-on television in the room that was showcasing Fox Kids' Saturday morning cartoons.
My brother was going to build the best damn LEGO house the world had ever seen. And not even our mommy's delicious supper could pull him away from his foreseeable destiny.
|Super Mario shapes FTW|
Every block would be a different color than the one next to it, which is exactly the way a child's dream house had to be. There would be no roof, because the climate of our air conditioned room created a perfect living environment for the little LEGO men inside. He even included a 2nd floor so that the LEGO inhabitants would have a place to rest when they were getting sick of their annoying He-Man and Ghostbuster action figure neighbors.
|"I have the power! ... to annoy you with my masculinity"|
Meanwhile, a rambunctious 6 year old watched from the shadows. This kid was previously playing with a SEGA Genesis, but NBA Jam was now paused.
|Pippen's going to have to wait for that BOOM-Shakalaka|
This child was me. And the moment Joey left his creation alone, I pounced onto his territory to claim it as my own.
While my brother was the creative architect, I was the one with the vivid imagination. I preferred messing with the lives of these little LEGO people so that they would commit to my crazy storylines and rules. All my brother did was create a setting for my mental scripts. This would usually end with immense destruction.
At the time, my young mind did not give the figures much to work with. My stories were usually basic fight scenes where I would mash the toys together until I decided there was a victor. Then I would throw in a simple poop joke and call it a day ...
... in fact I still do this.
|"Because poop is funny!"|
Yet there was something else I wanted that my brother had been holding onto for far too long:
The top bunk.
I loved to complain to my mother that it was unfair that I wasn't allowed to sleep on the top bunk. It was common brother jealousy because my older brother, Joey, was sole owner of the untouchable mountain. My brother and I would fight constantly about it, but I just dealt with it because the bottom bunk gave me a place to hide my boogies on the wall parallel to my bed. Little green globs of ectoplasm that were hidden by the shadow of the mythical top bunk. I was a prison inmate etching into his cell the days since he last saw freedom.
Then, it happened. My mom finally felt that I was old enough to experience the top bunk. At the tender age of 6, I had finally grown up. I was ready to become a man.
For the first time since I started waking up for kindergarten, I actually looked forward to bed time. My brother and I use to sneak a video game or two in while we pretended to dose off, but I wasn't having any of that on this monumental night.
I put on my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles footy pajamas and triumphantly climbed to the top of the mountain.
|Kinda like Uncle Joey here except way more boss.|
I laid upon my new pillaged kingdom with a sense of fulfillment. I put my hands behind my head and Ferris Bueller'd my way into sleepy time.
|Day-bow-bow. Chick ... chicka-chick-ahhhhh|
When suddenly I was thrown out of my Megazord. Could this be the doings of that jezebel-wench Rita? Find out in the next episode of ...
I woke up to find my body teeter-tottering on the edge of my new top bunk.
|By the way, you jus' got Inception'd|
It wasn't enough.
I plummeted towards the floor as my arms flew violently [and Kermit-the-Frog-ly] through the air.
Smashing into the floor below was now inevitable. Unlucky for me, there was a structure on the floor to break my fall. Another trophy that I had stolen earlier that day: My brother's multi-colored LEGO house.
I collided with the home, which immediately shattered into hundreds of pieces. The house now resembled a bowl of Fruity Pebbles after a 2 year old has their way with it. My body contorted with the layout of this new bed of nails.
If you've ever stepped on a LEGO, then you understand the volatile destruction that these little mines can create. I had just fallen a good 5 feet onto a whole unevenly built LEGO house.
I laid there motionless as the traumatizing experience slowly settled in. I let out a few silent moans and dieing-animal noises but my body couldn't let out a cry due to the immense shock over what just took place.
I slowly rotated my body, brushed off the multicolored bricks that were now stuck to my Ninja Turtles footy pajamas, and grabbed the first peg of the ladder to pick myself back up to my little toddler feet.
Somehow I was perfectly fine. Minus a few cat-like scratches on my back, I was surprisingly unscathed. All my experience watching Macho Man Randy Savage drop his patented elbow from the top rope onto other WWF wrestlers must have subliminally taught me how to take a decent bump.
|"You're welcome Eddie! OHHHH YEAAH! DIG IT?!"|
I learned a valuable lesson that night: Don't grow up too fast. Mo' responsibility and prestige, mo' problems. Bask in life when it's simple. Enjoy what you have now because sooner or later, you're going to be drowning in a sea of LEGO's
... LEGO's being a metaphor for debt ... [See what I did there?]
But that wasn't the only life lesson I gained through this experience. I also learned the ultimate revenge for anyone who disrespected me.