There was a crisis in my house Monday night. Upon returning to school after a long week of rest and relaxation, my son's senses were jolted by terrible news: January 2010 will be the last wave of new LEGO Bionicle sets. It hit him like a ton of little plastic bricks. To say that he was devastated might be an understatement, but it certainly rocked him to his core. The folks at LEGO think it's time for a change. After ten years and countless variations on the theme of otherworldly action figures that you build yourself, they believe it is time to go in a new direction. Makes sense, right?
Well, when I said "countless variations," I was speaking from my own jaded sensibilities. My son could count them all. He can name them all. He can describe the differences between them and the relative merits and advances with each succeeding generation. The Matoran. The Rahi. The Mistika. We have lost track of the actual number of figures he owns. At one point, we purchased a gallon barrel of miscellaneous parts that he was able to fashion into any number of masked and weaponed creations. Way back in 2002, my wife and I bought him a Happy Meal with a little six-piece LEGO creature called Maku inside. Since then he has been an avid collector.
We have Bionicle video games, Bionicle DVDs, Bionicle novels. It is a rare week when there isn't at least one Bionicle on display somewhere in our house. We have made special trips to book stores to pick up the new Bionicle book, or Target, where you can still get great deals on Bionicles.
And now, it's about to come to an end. My son is twelve. I tried to reason with him and tell him that there would be other toys and, heaven forbid, there would be a time when toys weren't so very important. Now is not that time. Then I realized how I felt when I heard that Bruce Springsteen may have played his last shows with the E Street Band. I thought of the ticket stubs and the T-shirts and the set lists. There will be other bands. There will come a time when concerts aren't so important anymore.
My son has a right to grieve. Long live Mata Nui.