There’s no rest for your typical suburban ninja these days: blood on your Honda Odyssey, called in by your manager for kunai left in the break room, mixing up the bills and the assassination contracts (at least the IRS stopped visiting). My wife, Linda grew up Catholic—apparently, the swift and honorable death of my enemies is not an “appropriate” thing to bring up during grace. Frankly, I don’t understand why I got such a glare for showing off my katana to the nephews— what happened to the right to bear arms, Linda? 

Ever since we had our first, things have soured between me and the missus. Many of our spats arise from her close-minded notion that my son will not train to join the Shogun Tokugawa’s forces like his father before him. Personally, I believe any would-be ninja should be able to sit still for hours at a time, to brave both the raging winds of a storm and quell the roaring fire of thoughts within. At least let the kid decide.  However, according to Linda, “forgetting 15-month-old Timmy in the Costco parking lot overnight” was “irresponsible” and “cruel.” 

Thankfully, my son has shown some signs of progress; the babysitter called me horrified one evening after he strangled all his teddy bears with a garotte. He then kicked her in the jaw with the grace of a crane when she denied him ice cream. (Jeez – ever heard of laissez-faire parenting, woman?) 

My wife’s most absurd complaints recently have to do with weaponry in the house–I keep finding throwing stars plastered with bubble wrap and duct tape. Timmy just learned to walk, so he’s been ambling around our living room touching things with sharp edges. However, after he picked up some daggers on the coffee table, my protest that they were hiding in plain sight did not save me from sleeping on the couch last week. 

J. Mansfield