American building blocks

Community Columnist

— There is nothing better than to know something. Not just know it, but be right about it.

The worst is to think you know something that you really don’t know at all. That’s why I’m always on the fence, without too many convictions.

I’ve been absolutely certain about things that turned out to be totally the opposite.

Sometimes I’m a Met fan, sometimes I root for the Yankees. Sometimes I’m conservative, sometimes liberal. Sometimes I’m a gluttonous carnivore, sometimes a vegetarian. I don’t know if I’m moody, spineless, philosophically schizophrenic or just plain belligerent with myself.

My parents gave me the blocks, I’m sure, but I can’t remember. They were always there. They knew nothing of spatial intelligence, but that I would take to blocks.

I put them in my mouth. I teethed on them. I walked on them. I hid behind them. And I built with them.

I played with blocks every day, making roadways and villages and castles and forts and skyscrapers. I had a 3-D mathematical romance with blocks.

They were symmetrical and logical.

Blocks became a second language.

My first set was solid, fine wood, smooth beveled edges. They were big and plain and perfect. Then, some relative seeing that I liked blocks, got me the kind that were smaller, square, with designs and letters on them.

I made walls with the letters and words with the blocks, but everyone knocked them down because they weren’t castles or forts. I was better off building blocks with no words.

My father introduced me to army men, the little green plastic figurines. He showed me how to hide them behind the blocks in strategic fashion so that they were protected when the dive-bomber would come.

The dive-bomber would be my straightened hand with rocks being dropped from my thumb. The green plastic men would topple, but some of the blocks would remain as ruins.

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