Nocturnal Ninjas

For the past couple of years my sleep pattern has been changing –now I rarely sleep for eight hours in a row. Generally I’ll sleep for three or four hours at a time. I’ll get up and take a walk, perhaps to a local convenience store to chat with the clerks, or I’ll play music, or read. Then I’ll sink back down into the depths of somnolence for a couple more hours.

That’s why I was up at 3:30 this morning. I stepped out onto my porch aerie to smoke a cigarette. There was some sort of commotion going on directly below. I looked down and saw several young men involved in some sort of ritualistic activity — perhaps a game of some sort? I recognized Tom, my young downstairs neighbor. I called down to him:

“Hey, Tom, what’re you guys doin’?”

He looked up at me and said sheepishly, “Oh, we’re just playin’ this game called Ninja.”

I watched for a while; the game involves starting out in a huddle, then every player draws back and assumes odd postures seemingly derived from Kung Fu movies, Bruce Lee stuff. The game seems to be a variant of that hoary classic game Tag.

I took a few photos, propping my camera on the porch railing:

I was curious about this game and looked it up on Wikipedia. One of the virtues of Wikipedia is that if there are several meanings of a word a Disambiguation page opens up so that you can choose the meaning in which you are interested. Evidently Ninja is a common playground game:


Ninja reminds me of a game my kids used to play with the children of some friends; it was called Midnight. I never quite understood the rules, but that game involved running around wildly while shrieking. Meanwhile the parents sat inside and talked, insulated by walls from the chaos outside.




Filed under Quincy, Recollections

5 responses to “Nocturnal Ninjas

  1. Joan

    Wow, Larry! Never a dull moment with you. It’s one thing to have young kids playing tag or some such, under your window in the daytime but teens at 3:30 A.M.? Whassup with that? Tis a wonder the sleepers in the neighborhood aren’t disturbed..but perhaps they are hard of hearing or sound sleepers.
    Methinks one of your midnite marauders may have a newish spare tire for his car now, or are they old enough to drive? (grin)

  2. Joan

    I lightened up the photos a bit and it looks like an adult and 4 teens. Again.. 3:30 in the A.M.? Let’s hope its for a scout badge. (grin)
    On the whole, however, these people look a lot less nefarious than those in your previous town’s neighborhood.

  3. I don’t think any of the guys are in their teens, Joan. I’ve met most of them, and I think they are in their early twenties. One of them was that Arnold I wrote about earlier, the one who left his wallet on my step.

    Several of Tom’s friends seem to be neo-hippie electric guitarists — they probably play for little money in local bands.

  4. Joan

    Ok then. You might want to use the lightened up pics I sent you, though. Although the Ninja gloom Rembrandt lighting may be effective, on my screen I can barely make out any figures. It could be my screen but I hope not. At any rate, this was an amusing post. Knew the young adults loved video fantasy but thought nobody but die hard gamers acted them out…as in The Big Bang most favorite half hour comedy.

  5. Yeah, Joan, I’ll substitute your lightened pics for my dark ones, perhaps this evening. Right now, while a chill drizzle falls outside, I need to take a nap.

    The Big Bang Theory is one of my favorite TV shows, too!

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