Just a few day ago, I proclaimed Will Arnett the toughest person on Earth, because he went on national television and walked on a bed of LEGO bricks, a fate I wish upon nobody. That's not a superlative I'm about to backpedal on, but looking at the footage again, one could argue that Arnett got off sort of easy: His stretch of building block plastic was populated mainly by standard bricks, largely eschewing non-traditional pieces that could have really punished his soles (and his soul).
This got me thinking: If I had to pick one LEGO piece not to step on, which one would that be? I sought out a list of LEGO and found Pick A Brick on the LEGO Shop, where I browsed the 1,244 available pieces and realized that there's a lot more than one piece I want my heels nowhere near. But still, which one would be the absolute worst to plant a heavy foot on? I believe I have my answer, but it wasn't easy to come to. So, with my newfound expertise on LEGO pieces of all sorts, at least as they relate to potential pain inflicted on my little toesies, I went ahead and ranked the top 25 most painful LEGO to step on.
There are a few criteria to consider, the most important being natural resting position. Think about it this way: Stepping directly on an upright knife would be acutely unpleasant, but how likely would it be to find a knife on the floor in that position? More often than not, a knife on the floor will be laying flat and relatively harmless, which is why a LEGO piece like 2m cross axle w. groove didn't make the list. It would be killer to step on upright, but that's just not prone to happening.
With that in mind, here are painful LEGO numbers 25 through 11, followed by the absolutely insufferable top 10.
25. Tyre high narrow ø15x6
24. Brick 1x8
23. Profile brick ø15.83 w. cross
22. Round plate 2x2 w/eye
21. Roof tile 4x2/45° inv.
20. Mini head
19. Brick 1x4 w. 4 knobs
18. Smoke helmet protection
17. Stone 1x2x1 1/3 w. 2 plates 2x2
15. Roof tile 1x2 45° w. 1/3 plate
14. Plate 1x1 w. up right holder
13. Brick with bow 1x3x2
12. Profile brick 1x2
11. Double conical wheel z12 1m
10. Brick corner 1x2x2
Small bricks are a theme on this list, due to the definition of pressure: force per unit area. In stepping on a LEGO, the force applied by our hypothetical stepping foot will be the same, so as the unit area gets smaller, the pressure, and therefore pain, increases. Laying on its base, this piece has three pressure points in the knobs, and it has great potential to rest on its two long sides, leading to a 1x1 area with four sharp corners that would be absolutely no fun.
9. Angle plate 1x2/1x4
This may be the largest brick in the top 10, but if you get it resting on its two long edges like a tent, that top, as well as the six pegs and right-angle edges caused by the sides' difference in length, could get past the toughest of callouses.
8. Mailbox, casing 2x2x2
The tall 2x2 brick has tremendous potential for pain from all sides, but if you catch it with the open face, and those two hinge-holding pegs, up, watch out. Those pegs may be the smallest bit of plastic on this list, and we could see them getting lost in the bloodstream of a careless stepper.
7. Brick 2x4x1 w. screen
The irregular shape of this brick spells disaster from every angle, but the two ends of that arch, if stepped on face up... honestly, we could see those piercing skin, no lie. It feels like there's a decent chance of that happening with this piece if carelessly left out on the playroom floor.
6. Facet brick 3x3x1
5. Plate 1x2 w. vertical grip
Look at that vertical grip, like it was designed for the sole purpose of pinching the soft skin of your arch and leaving a blood blister that'll alter your posture for a week. No thank you; get out of here.
At first I thought it would be rare to find this piece standing with the prongs facing up, but then I realized that it's a very bottom-heavy piece, meaning that I could see it in the pictured position at least 50 percent of the time. The prongs are basically three dull knives, which hurt more than sharp ones because they have to claw their way through your epidermis and into the meaty flesh of your sole.
3. Brick 1x2 w. 4 knobs
Virtually no matter how this brick is positioned, there's some sort of irregular or small surface aimed at the sky, and then at your poor feet. Sometimes it's the most basic-looking pieces that'll haunt you the most, and this appears to be one of those cases.
2. Rocker bearing 1x2
This rocker bearing looks like something Saw villain Jigsaw would make his victims cut their stomach open with to find a key embedded in their skin. It's got plenty of edges, some pointed and some long and narrow, so it's a real pick your poison scenario here (with a bonus poker in the middle of the bottom surface).
1. Brick 1x1 w. 4 knobs
Simplicity is key, and it brought brick 1x1 w. 4 knobs all the way to the top. Every side is tiny and has potential for unbelievable trauma. It has pegs on all surfaces but one, yes, but the shape of this brick makes me think that if you stepped on it with any degree of forward movement, it would roll along with your foot, taking a bunch of quick hits before the pressure from your foot stopped it, and you, in your tracks.
Even though this was a traumatic list to compile, we want to know your horror stories about stepping on LEGO. Do you think our list stacks up? Tip-toe your way to the comments below.
Also be sure to check out our interview with LEGO Batman himself: