Friday, September 22, 2006

Enter the Hyphen

I would like to propose a more expansive use of the term "ninja."

We all know what ninjas are, those black-clad masters of secrecy, possessors of near superhuman skills in the martial arts and stealth. They can appear to vanish into thin air, catch a throwing star with their bare hands, jump over towering castle walls, or even enter a trance-like state indistinguishable from death so as to deceive their enemies.

But there are other people who are also very good at things, possessors of near superhuman skills in their own particular domains, those who excel at making coffee, shopping for groceries, Scrabble, etc. Aren't they in some sense ninja-ish? Should they be denied the "ninja" appellation? I think not.

Let us henceforth refer to the "classic" ninja as a ninja-ninja. Those who are very good at something else will be whatever-else-they-are-very-good-at-ninjas: a spelling-ninja, a crossword-puzzle-ninja, a boiling-spaghetti-ninja, a tying-shoes-ninja, a detecting-grammatical-errors-in-the-sentences-of-others-ninja, a Dewey-Decimal-System-ninja, a nose-whistling-ninja, and so on. This morning I was a sleeping-in-ninja, deflecting the metaphorical "throwing stars" of my children's shrieks with my "bare hands" of extreme slumber.

What kind of ninja are you?


  1. A TiVo-Remote-Wielding Ninja....
    (I am a genius with that thing)

    Love the selfportrait Slimbolala-as-ninja!

  2. Anonymous11:26 PM

    I would have said I was a sleep-ninja, or more generally a sloth-ninja, but I am also curious as to whether the variable has to be a desirable goal, or whether it can be something negative: typo-ninja, dribbling-food ninja (ahem), toe-stubbing ninja, slouch-ninja, or slow-on-the-double-take ninja. What do you think, Slim?

  3. Again, "expansive use" is the key. I think it can be anything you're really good at, even if what you're good at is rather bad.

  4. Anonymous12:37 PM

    Alright, ninja time!
    Music selector-ninja
    Southern European red wine-ninja
    Dressing up cats & dogs-ninja
    Food loving-ninja
    Fool on the hill-ninja
    (Aussies make some exceptionally fine Shiraz I might add. It's just I'm not an Australian Shiraz- ninja, yet)

  5. I'm a procrastination-ninja.

  6. Anonymous10:38 PM

    I'm a ready-reference ninja (that outta get you a lot of library nerd google hits)

    I'm an organizing ninja

    I'm also currently a Joni-Mitchell-singing ninja, forgive me. I have long drives in the car lately.

    Ninja, the word, has made its first appearance in our house lately. My son is a very good sneaking-quietly-in-the-dark ninja. I couldn't really think of another way to explain ninjas to a 3 year old.

  7. Anonymous11:24 AM

    Back when I rode a motorcycle, I was a ninja-riding-ninja.

  8. I have the powerful forces of both an object-relationship-mapping-ninja and an armpit-farting-ninja all wrapped up in one. The Hidden Masters* have said this is rare.

    * well, my wife.

  9. Anonymous8:49 AM

    Alas, I'm a

    not-doing-the-task-at-hand Ninja

    like there, I just wielded my power.
    Back to work!
    (or am I...)

  10. This month?

    Papermaking Ninja
    Hogwash-sniffin Ninja
    Navigating-the-streets-of-Boston Ninja

    (and I've entered into initiation rituals for confirmation as a slouch Ninja and spicy-food-cooking Ninja, too)

  11. I'm a

    saltines-sucking-to combat the morning sickness-ninja and a napping-ninja!