Accepted entry for the “Article” category.
Author: Jake RF
Word Count: 1,362
The End of AFOL
AFOL – Adult Fan of LEGO, I hate this acronym.
Outside of a short in-real-life meeting with the notorious Ted Andes I’ve only been active with the LEGO community via the interwebs. Therefore I don’t believe I’ve ever actually had the need to use the acronym AFOL in spoken language. Is it pronounced /ā-fool/, /ah-fool/, or maybe /uh-full/? It has always just been /aw-ful/ in my head, but who cares. It doesn’t accurately describe anything.
What is an AFOL? Is anyone over 18 that buys a LEGO set for themselves an awful? Can you just buy one set or do you have to buy ten sets or a hundred sets before you officially join the ranks? Do you just have to state out loud that you think LEGO is cool? Do you have to build a MOC? Don’t get me started on how much I hate the acronym MOC. How do you even use that acronym and it make sense? If I say “Check out my MOC.” I’m basically saying check out my My Own Creation which is dumb. But if I say “Check out MOC.” I sound like an illiterate caveman. I hate it. Let’s just call them builds or models like normal people. I digress.
I’ve always felt the term AFOL to be one of the worst acronyms used by the LEGO community. I don’t like how it encompasses every type of LEGO enthusiast. There are definitely some types of AFOLs that I’m decidedly not. So let’s destroy AFOL. Let’s throw it in the dumpster and torch it. Let’s move past this inadequate acronym and create new and better ways to describe who we really are. We can then navigate within the community more efficiently. We’ll all know where we fit in the best, who to stay away from, and what blogs read. It’ll be great.
The revolution starts now. We have to get out from under the AFOL umbrella. What’s that? You don’t want to think about it? Change is hard and you don’t want to do any work? Don’t worry, not only have I done the work for you, I have even ranked each new LEGO enthusiast group from coolest to lamest based solely on my own very biased, often uninformed opinions. Without further ado, here’s the list.
- Adult Builders of LEGO (ABOL, /ā-bowl/), Builders, or The Rock Stars
Builders are truly the rock stars of the LEGO community. They are the Highsmith and Danson of LEGO enthusiasts.
They don’t follow the instructions. ABOLs could care less what model is shown on the front cover of that unreasonably large box. For a builder, this is ideal box art.
Builders hate the official model and will never build it. They don’t care what play features it has or what minifigs come with it. They just want to know what parts are in that box and how they can use them to make something better than what the corporate stooges at TLG put together. The LEGO designers didn’t even take the time to hide every stud, the lazy bums. There is even a large portion of ABOLs who recklessly disregard the rules of building, making illegal connections and overstressing parts all in the name of making something cooler and sleeker. Bloggers search these rock star’s photostreams for original models with clever connections and nice part usage. Some in the LEGO community might think builders are prima-donnas, but they undoubtedly have style.
- Adult Players of LEGO (APOL, /ā-poll/), Players, or The Manchildren
These guys never grew up. They’re oversized kids. APOLs actually care about the model displayed on the oversized LEGO box and what new minifigs are included. Players eat every word of the set reviews on Brickset, TBB, and FBTB like candy. They will watch all thirty-four minutes of a video reviewing a single LEGO set, then spend even more of their time complaining about the set not meeting their playtime standards instead of just spending all that time building the set they want.
They like to follow the instructions, build the official models, and see how far the shooters shoot. I guess they probably display them and move them around every so often, I don’t really know, but they are definitely a step up from this next group because players actually open up the boxes and take the parts out.
- Adult Collectors of LEGO (/ā-coal/), Collectors, or The Unimaginative
I don’t think ACOLs really get LEGO. These guys like to buy LEGO, but never open the box. They store it unopened on a shelf, or in a closet, or maybe even on the floor if they are feeling especially unimaginative. These guys are a bunch of OCD weirdos who get upset if a box corner gets a little crinkled. I’m don’t know why anyone would want to be this type of LEGO enthusiast, but I’m pretty sure there are a lot of ACOLs out there lurking in basements throughout the world. They are hoarders and should be avoided at all costs, except by ASOLs, who should see the easy mark and quick buck to be made. I might have to reconsider dropping ACOLs down a rank after watching this depressing twenty-five minute video of a collector meticulously showing off his stacks of sealed LEGO sets which remarkably has been viewed almost a quarter of a million times.
Free that LEGO. It wasn’t meant to stay in the box.
- Adult Sellers of LEGO (ASOL /a-sol/), Sellers, or The Peddlers
ASOLs look at LEGO purely as a commodity. They buy low and sell high. They make it hard for APOLs to get that UCS Millennium Falcon because they bought five of them to list at double the price on eBay. Of course, there are the Bricklinkers and Brickowlers who so courageously feed the rock stars with the right parts to finish that Mona Lisa of a build.
That looks mind-numbing, but the part-sellers are the unsung heroes of the LEGO community, silently counting, sorting, and listing every part LEGO has ever produced. However, the question must be asked, are they in it for the love of the hobby or just the money? I’m guessing there are far more of the latter than the former which is why they fell below the guys who like to stare at unopened boxes in my ranking system. It’s a tough call.
- Adult Builders of LEGO Trains (ABOLT /ā-bolt/), Train Builders, or The Ridiculed
I’m not sure why, I’ve never actually met and therefore never had a bad interaction with an ABOLT, but these guys are at the bottom of the list. They are a group alone and not the rock stars they would be if they just built something other than trains, but I guess every group needs its Jerry Gergich.
They want to be cool, are probably talented, and may be really nice, but they build trains. They are the punchline to every LEGO joke. It is just the way it is. I mean, seriously, who wants to hang out with these guys? Look at the silver lining though, you builders of trains, it turns out Jerry Gergich has a huge penis and a supermodel wife.
While Highsmith and Danson idiotically jump to their deaths.
Well, there it is. That’s it. The end of AFOL is nigh. I know what you are all thinking. Very few people fit completely into any of these new categories, so maybe we should just stick with our catchall AFOL tag for everyone. You are wrong. You must pick a side and join your exclusive new group. It is time to categorize and separate from each other. You can only be friends with LEGO enthusiast if they are just like you and hold the same core values. If I’ve learned anything from the leaders of our great nation, and what better example can we draw our values, it’s that anyone not in our own group is an idiot, each and every one, and if they say something sensible, disregard it. And if you aren’t from Amurica, your opinion is next to worthless, amiright?