It takes a second for the pain to register. My foot continues on towards its intended destination until a half-step further, when a white-hot shock digs into my heel. I have stepped on a LEGO brick and the pain is so intense that I'm considering leaving my foot behind and just continuing on with the one good one I've got left.
This is not a new epidemic. As long as LEGO bricks have been in existence -- the blocky plastic brick was granted a patent in 1958 -- the soles of fathers' feet have been in danger. But up until now, the only solution afforded to dads was the simultaneous act of hopping up and down angrily while threatening to throw away the LEGO bricks unless they were put away properly. That strategy ends today, as does the potential injury to your tootsies. Here are the five ways you can prevent the trauma of stepping on LEGO bricks.
- Canary in a coal mine. Pigs help uncover truffles via their tremendous sense of smell. But since most of us don't have pot-bellied pigs that we can train to discover the scent of plastic, we'll opt for a less exotic family pet -- the dog. My dog has an uncanny ability to eat rare or valuable pieces that have fallen to the floor, so using her as a LEGO brick detector would only require some natural reinforcement of her canine instincts. Give your dog a bit of lead on a leash and walk behind him. If any LEGO bricks get eaten, this merely reinforces your point that they shouldn't be left on the floor.
- Tore up from the floor up. If it feels like you step on LEGO bricks every day, you might as well not fight it. Tear up the carpet or grab the glue and start to build yourself some LEGO flooring. Then treat your living room like a corporate trust building exercise, running across it as fast as you can; just like running over hot coals, you won't feel any pain.
- Feets of strength. Let's say you don't have a large toy collection. This third strategy is simply the inverse of a LEGO floor. LEGO bricks operate on a studs and tube system. The bumps on top are the studs and the circular holes they snap into are the tubes. When you get home from work, simply spend a few minutes pressing the studs (the tops) of LEGO bricks into the soles of your feet. Thus, when you step on a LEGO brick, it will merely snap onto your foot, rather than destroy it.
- Grin and bear it. LEGO bricks are not the only toys your kids probably leave lying around the living room. You can take advantage of your circumstances like MacGruber to engineer your own solution. Simply attach a teddy bear or stuffed animal to each foot using duct tape. Then it's like having two plush limousines on your feet for the rest of the night.
- Man's last line of defense. If none of these strategies are successful - it's time to embrace a well-worn fatherly tradition. You only have one final option. Father's Day is coming up: I suggest you ask for a pair of slippers.