Fanboy confession: ‘Why I want a $400 ‘Star Wars’ toy for my 40th birthday’

Sept. 11, 2008 | 12:47 a.m.

Lego Death Star

The first three letters in “fanatic” are f-a-n and no one knows that better than the true believers here at Hero Complex. People confess their obsessions to us all the time. For example, take Aaron Curtiss, a seemingly normal adult employed here at the Los Angeles Times as a high-level editor. This is his story:

The Death Star has entered my orbit.

As I officially begin middle age, I plan to celebrate my 40th birthday next month not with a sordid extramarital affair, a hyper-compensating hot rod or some personal quest for cosmic meaning. I will celebrate with the ultimate power in the universe — as rendered in 3,803 interlocking Lego bricks.

If you think an adult dropping $400 on a kid’s toy is the pinnacle of irresponsible budgeting, you’re probably reading the wrong blog. But since you’re here, you’re more likely to be most upset to know that after my Lego Death Star arrives sometime next week, I’ll rip open the box and actually sit down to build the most expensive single Lego set I’ve ever bought. And, trust me on this, I have bought a lot of Lego over the years.

Two things that shaped my late childhood were “Star Wars” and Lego. For my generation, there are really only two types of people: There are the guys for whom “Star Wars” shaped their understanding of the world -– and then there are girls. In the decade or so since Lego began producing sets based on the classic trilogy –- and, oh, yes, those prequels –- I’ve combined two of my great loves and been able to pass both on to my own boys, one of whom is just as excited as I am to assemble the Death Star.

And who wouldn’t be? After all, it includes a minifig-scale trash compactor, the detention block, the tractor beam and the conference room where Lord Vader first demonstrates just how dangerous it can be to underestimate the power of the Force. Each of these vignettes provides learning opportunities that I, as I descend into gray hair and pot belly, can share with my boys. These tales will help them become responsible members of the republic. What kind of lessons? Well, for instance, the valuable knowledge that following a pretty girl with a gun into strange places can end badly. And that you should always, always, carry a grappling hook on your belt. Hey, wait: I wonder where I can buy one of those?

— Aaron Curtiss

Photo courtesy of the Lego Group.

More in: Uncategorized, Random Silliness, Star Wars


8 Responses to Fanboy confession: ‘Why I want a $400 ‘Star Wars’ toy for my 40th birthday’

  1. rob says:

    $400 ?
    C'mon. How can that be worth….WAIT!
    OMG, there's Obi-Wan turning off the Tractor Beam!
    Totally getting this.

  2. Awesome. I hate that Legos have gotten so outrageous in price but, that is one awesome set. I'm still trying to justify spending $150 on the new Falcon!

  3. daniel says:

    Any true Lego fan remembers the joy (and challenges) of building Star Wars universe without instructions. Wasn't that part of the point? Couldn't you have build your own Death Star years ago after they came out with Star Wars Lego characters?

  4. ted says:

    Just for a little addition to the story. My five year is a Lego man. Calls himself a "designer" and has a "lego workshop". His mother is an architect, go figure.
    Anyhow, he has been slower to understand the concept of money than some others but when the Lego catalogue came out with the Death Star, and it was pronounced to be "super-cool", we used that as an opportunity to have Star Wars lego sets become currency. As the Death Star costs roughly the same as 50 Clone Trooper attack vehicles we now have a coin of the realm (trooper attack vehicles) and clear understanding of the relative value of things.
    We are now waiting for the day when movies cost less than two trooper vehicles and gas drops below 1 trooper vehicle/gallon. Thanks Lego!

  5. Paul Harrison says:

    Awesome. I did the exact same thing for my 39th birthday last month. My wife gave me the set as a gift and my brother came up from Atlanta to help me build it (well, really just to hang out but once he saw the box it was all over). We spent late evenings constructing what has to be the coolest Star Wars toy ever, and it was like we were right back in childhood.

  6. Dentrassi says:

    Not all the mega-geeks are guys. And I'm not talking about the chicks who just want attention by donning a Princess Leia bikini or white dress with no bra on. I'm talking about the girls who can take on Mace Windu in a lightsabre fight, sing the stupid Ewok song and recite Greedo's speech. There's a lot of us out there and we don't all look like Jabba!

  7. Ben Chester says:

    In all truth, I find it much easier justifying $400. for a Lego set than the equal amount some might blow in Banana Republic or a weekend Casino trip. We all have our individual vices:)
    Speaking as a professional FX artist, there are few in the industry today who can't attribute their foolish career choice to Star Wars to some degree. And even at the age of 31, when a complicated job is completed, the first thing I'll do to relax and decompress is pick up whatever new lego monstrosities are on the shelves. And the Star Wars isle is always the first stop:)
    And roll their eyes though the family may, it's an escape for which I feel no shame. No complicated sculpture or molding….not even much thought reguired! Just sitting with a good meal, a good movie, and a table top full of pre-made easy to assemble pieces, revisiting a world of comfort and familiarity. In a world inundated with so many unhealthy vices…..I think I'll stick with mine another 30 years;)

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