I’m going to take a moment, step just a little to the side of computing, and let my inner geek out. Not that I restrain him all that much anyway…
I recently watched The Lego Movie, and besides bringing back some memories, it actually reminded me of something I hadn’t thought about for a long time.
Not that everything is awesome … that’s something I feel pretty much every day.
No, this was more about how I got my start, and how my grandmother may have had a hand in that.
Become a Patron of Ask Leo! and go ad-free!
I had Legos before Legos were cool
Back in the 1960’s, when I was growing up, Lego® wasn’t really a thing. I’m not sure they were even available in the United States at that time, and if so, availability was certainly very limited in comparison to today. Building and construction-type toys were the purview of things like Erector Sets and Lincoln Logs (back when they were real metal and wood, respectively).
Legos were, however, available in Europe.
Living in the U.S. with relatives in Holland, it became somewhat of a tradition to send packages of assorted gifts around the holidays. Besides traditional Dutch treats and other goodies, my grandmother almost always included a set of Legos, and over the years they accumulated.
An engineer is born
I often credit a T.V. repair man as setting in motion the events that would lead to my career, but in reality, the die was cast much earlier.
Besides the healthy dose of “engineer genes” I received from both of my parents, the toys I played with as a child also placed me firmly on that track. And I have to say that it probably all started with the Legos my grandmother sent me.
And I still have ’em. The Legos in the picture you see here are 50 years old1.
I build things, and I always have. While my medium has changed from plastic bricks to computers and software, and even simply words, the underlying skills remain the same: a fundamental curiosity and wonder at how things can be put together, and what can be created when it’s done well.
I’m an engineer of the software variety.
Look for the awesome
So, why am I going on about children’s toys, engineering, and my own, perhaps somewhat pollyanna-ish approach to life? Everything is awesome? Really?
My take is that it’s way too easy to let the day-to-day frustrations of technology get in the way of seeing the awesomeness around us.
My trip down memory lane reminded me of this.
And it reminded me that I need to do a better job of reminding you just how awesome some of what we take for granted really is.
- What was a once a maybe twice-a-year gift in a package that took weeks to get here, I can now order online and expect on my doorstep in a few days. Or, if I’m lucky enough to have one nearby, I can just visit a store.
- Special holiday treats from my childhood, also in those packages? They’re also just a click of a button away.
- Oh, and that movie? I watched it on my phone. My phone!2
Those are just a few of the things that I call awesome – not in the “oh, that’s cool” watered-down definition, but to me, truly awe-inspiring.
I haven’t said it in a while, and I should say it more often: I love living in the future.
And I want you to love it too.