We tend to think of ninjas as anachronistic creatures of myth, but I’m here to tell you the ninja is completely real. He is alive and well in our modern day culture.
It’s just that he sucks now, and is usually under arrest.
The ninja is a creature of stealth and subtlety; he is a shadow that lives; a whisper in the night; a… guy screaming on a street corner and waving nunchucks around? A man in Vernon, Connecticut was arrested for loudly and repeatedly threatening to “beat up” Senator Joe Liebermann while dressed entirely in a black ninja outfit and brandishing a pair of nunchucks… at 11 o’clock in the morning.What They Did Right:
Liebermann is an appropriate ninja target. He's a famous turncoat--rich and reviled by the local peasants--but the appropriate ninja approach would be to sneak into his house, or ambush his caravan, or… send him nasty glances at a party and tell people his shoes look fat, or pretty much anything besides standing on a street corner at lunchtime and hollering about beating him up.
“LIEEBERMANNN I COME FOR YOUUUU!”What They Did Wrong:
The black outfit is a staple of the ninja mythos: It conceals the ninja, making him one with the night. It is beautifully simple camouflage. However, its stealthy nature does not function at certain times . Those times are:
A. In Connecticut
B. 11 o’clock in the morning.
C. While screaming.
Also, police report that the subject was “belligerent and furious” until they pulled out bean bag guns and tasers, at which point the ninja in question “became polite and cooperative.” Man, if you’re just a ninja so long as nobody launches a hacky-sack into your junk at 200-mph, then you, sir, are no ninja.
New Jersey police became suspicious when they spotted two teenagers loitering in a parked vehicle. When they approached, they found the two dressed in full ninja gear--complete with knives, swords, nunchucks and a crossbow. The two were apparently planning on driving to known drug dealers houses and delivering sternly worded letters asking them to “cease impure activities” or be met with “justified yet, merciful force.”
What They Did Right:
They came seriously armed--even equipped with bulletproof vests--and again targeted a ninja-appropriate victim: Drug dealers are corrupt, and therefore it’s unlikely that their killers would be sought after with much effort. Plus there’s a lot of profit to be gained from attacking them. Textbook ninja.
No, that's a "Ninja Textbook."What They Did Wrong:
A sternly worded letter? Unless that letter is ‘X’ and it’s slashed into somebody’s face, that is not ninja-approved. A ninja is not a black force that delivers the daily post; you’re thinking of Isaac, the African-American mailman.
"You are truly a mail-delivery force, Isaac!"
Also, “cease impure activities” and “justified yet merciful force”? Are you threatening them or offering to give them an Engrish handjob? I’ve seen more "sternly worded" letters in Reader’s Digest concerning the quality of today’s instant oatmeal.
Ah, finally we have somebody who understands the appeal of the ninja: In Italy, a Russian ex-soldier was arrested for robbing isolated farms while clad entirely in black ninja-gear and brandishing a sword.
What They Did Right:
When he was eventually arrested, they found him with “a powerful bow in one hand and a knife strapped to his leg.”
What They Did Wrong:
So what eventually thwarted the Russian ex-soldier turned ninja bandit? Was it a SWAT team? A rival gang of ninja assassins with superior, possibly wind-based superpowers? Or just Captain America?
Nope: A senior citizen who fell down the stairs.
The Russian ninja smashed through the door of a farmhouse one night only to find a “pensioner” waiting for him, armed with a rifle...
Geriatrics: Bane of the Ninja!
…who promptly tripped and fell down the stairs. Because he was old and that’s the kind of thing that old people do. The fall accidentally set off his firearm, and Comrade Rising Phoenix immediately did the only thing a Warrior of the Night could do when facing an incapacitated senior citizen: He ran away, hopped on his bicycle and fled to the abandoned barn he was living in.
Jesus Christ, dude.
You had it! You had the whole ninja persona nailed down… right up until you started running away from the elderly, that whole “living in a barn” thing and, of course, the bicycle. Though it is undoubtedly stealthy, something about the bicycle just does not say “vicious shadow warrior” so much as it does “I care about the Earth” or at least “I have a DUI.”
"Wuzzat? No, I don't need no 401k unless that stands for 401 kilometers of... fuckin'... fuck you!"What They Did Right:
When police entered the Rockport man’s apartment, they found several swords, a bevy of throwing stars, night vision goggles, ammunition, gun powder, homemade mace, a blowgun with darts, nunchucks and a hunting bow.
What They Did Wrong:
Police also found one bag of marijuana, three containers of pot leaves, stems and seeds, grow lights, fertilizer, how-to books for growing weed (hey, you gotta learn somehow), 15 bongs (holy shit! Who needs 15 bongs? That’s two for every day of the week with one leftover in case they invent a new one), rolling papers, scraping tools (aw, ninjutsu doesn’t pay enough not to smoke resin?) and several dead marijuana plants (time to get a different book). Something about training to be a cunning, agile warrior with keen observation skills and infinite patience, just does not go well with ripping so many bong hits a day that you forgot you had a bong already and had to buy a new one on 14 separate occasions.
The informant who took the restraining order out reported that the man liked to “get high and spy on kids at the Headlands” while “dressed like a ninja.” And that he had grown “increasingly despondent… taken to sitting in front of his television just sharpening his swords.”
Ninja vanish! But Ninja never expect you to vanish... with his heart.
Sure, you can laugh now, but when you take all of these things together it paints a truly tragic picture: Clearly we are dealing with a ninja who lost his job at the Ninjutsu plant and turned (ineptly) to drugs, resorting to exploiting his formerly grand skills to watch teenagers dry-hump while reminiscing about the glory days. Cast Hilary Swank in there, and you’ve got an Oscar winning hard luck story that would melt the iciest heart.
What They Did Right:
Well, being found impaled on a fencepost is a relatively understandable way for a ninja to be caught. When one is engaged in epic rooftop duels to the death, this sort of thing is to be expected, really. It’s the ninja-equivalent of slipping on a wet floor; it is a common workplace hazard. They probably even have pre-made signs for it.
WATCH YOUR STEP! DEADLY ROOFTOP WITH SPIKES BELOW FOR SOME REASON. What They Did Wrong:
He wasn’t dressed in a ninja suit, nor carrying any weapons, so why is this guy here? And how did an average Joe manage to impale himself on a fencepost? Authorities say that, when questioned, the man freely and readily admitted to police that he was “not being chased, but thought he was a ninja and could leap the fence.” That’s not just the cops mocking him with the whole “thought he was a ninja” bit; those are his actual words. His excuse was “I thought I was a ninja; I was mistaken. That fence is my better in every way. It has absolutely demolished my groin.”
The fence was four-feet high.
"I think they watched too many Jackie Chan movies and got caught up in the fantasy.”
…Really? Jackie Chan is not a ninja, nor a super-criminal of any kind for that matter. Jackie Chan is a goofball Kung Fu MacGyver. If this was a club based around hilariously beating up Japanese guys with a fish, then you could say “they got caught up in the Jackie Chan fantasy.” Jesus, how do you even get to be sheriff without being able to tell your Jackie Chans apart from your ninjas? Here’s a hint, Lewis, Jackie’s the one on your side.
It's OK, misunderstandings happen to Jackie all the time--he's like the Hugh Grant of martial arts.What They Did Right:
They were equipped in full ninja-gear, suits, hoods and climbing spikes. They did all of their breaking-in at the dead of night and through the rooftops, which is pretty badass, all told.
What They Did Wrong:
One boy was nearly caught when an officer, responding to a call about a teenager throwing things off the roof of the school, found him and gave chase. The boy “took off at full speed, running to the edge of the building, then jumped off into space,” which is just fucking awesome! That’s how a ninja does it!
The effect was lessened slightly when he immediately “hit a tree, and broke branches all the way down to the ground, where he gave out a yelp of pain and then melted away into the night." Props to the officer for dramatic narrative, but it’s not exactly "melting away into the night" when you limp away after slamming into a tree midair, breaking everything on the way down, and then crying when you hit the ground. Also failing at ninjutsu: Starting a MySpace page for your ninja gang.
Ninjas don’t advertise, guys. And if they did they’d at least use the more anonymous Craigslist.
What They Did Right:
Reports say he was armed with two three-foot long swords, a two-and-a-half foot long machete and a bevy of throwing knives. When police cornered him, he turned and “charged like a maniac” like one would expect a ninja to do. He was also dressed entirely in black nylon, according to reports, adorned with a chain belt and hand blades…
He sounds badass! There's no way the next sentence will ruin this!What They Did Wrong:
…complete with a ponytail sticking straight up. Ponytails will always be the hallmark of the sensitive douchebag. And ninjas are not sensitive; the only emotions a true ninja has are cunning, anger and smokebomb.
"I think we need to talk about our feelin-NO NOT SMOKEBOMB. Dammit, Fred! Why won't you let me in?!"
So, why were the cops after him in the first place? They were serving an eviction notice. What kind of ninja can't avoid being tracked down for an eviction notice? Your landlord shouldn't even know you live there! This is becoming a truly heartbreaking trend: All of our ninjas are unemployed! Where is their stimulus package, Obama? You fucking anti-ninjite.
What They Did Right:
Officers say that, in addition to the weaponry already listed, the man also had several grappling hooks and climbing claws on his person. So he was at least prepared. Also, he fired said dart from the shadows of a nearby treetop which, if it had been properly poison-tipped, would have been totally effective. It’s not his fault ninjas have fallen on such hard times and cannot afford effective poisons anymore. Think I’m joking? Police said the man in question had been staying in Lower Manhattan… at a local homeless shelter. Say what you will, but that is a ninja with clearly defined priorities: He didn't usually have rent money, but he always had dart money.
They're in the same boat now, OBAMA.What They Did Wrong:
He made the mistake of tangling with Lafortune--a mistake many make, but few live to regret.
"You dare dart LaFortune?!"
Seriously, you think a guy named Lafortune is just “walking through the park” when he gets attacked by ninjas? No. I buy that you can get attacked by ninjas at random without having nefarious dealings, and I buy that you can be named something as sinister as 'Lafortune' without necessarily being a supervillain, but there is no way in hell you can do both of those things and expect us to believe you don't live in a Volcano.
I’m fucking on to you, Lafortune and I– wait, what’s that sound? What? I… n… no, Lafortune please, call off your Soldats de Fortune! I know nothing! I know nooOOOOOO*
Zere is nothink to zee ‘ere, mes amis. Zis is just another blog of funny. Zee penis, it is long. Move along peacefully, yes?
You can pre-order Robert's book, Everything is Going to Kill Everybody: The Terrifyingly Real Ways the World Wants You Dead on Amazon, or find him on Twitter, Facebook and his own site, I Fight Robots but don’t expect more material of this genius caliber; he is but a man!