I learned my ninja skills early. I don't know if my brother Gene who is five and a half years older than I am really wanted a little brother, but he always treated me like a boy. We had wrestling matches on his bed, and the first one to fling the other one off the bed and across the room was the winner. There was lots of blood and busted sheetrock, but I learned how to swipe kick both of his legs out from under him by the time I was six-years-old.
Gene also taught me how to fight. I mean, fist-fight. When I was in kindergarten, you didn't mess with me. I could score any boyfriend I wanted because all of the boys were all scared of me.
I had a secret weapon, though. I had an imaginary friend named "Sarah Tuff"--actually, she was more like a super-hero version of me. Sarah Tuff could ninja-kick, fly, turn invisible, and tackle like a speeding train.
When I was about four-years-old, Sarah Tuff came along with me on one of our family beach trips. This was one of those trips that had a kids' club called the "Beach Brigade" where my parents dumped us off while they sipped bloody marys by the pool. We were playing a game of Red Rover (I think it's actually been outlawed)--do you remember this one? "Red rover, red rover, send Sarah right over" would be chanted by a line of kids all holding hands. Then the person they called would have to run and try to bust through the line, breaking through held hands.
Naturally, they called my name first because I was one of the smallest kids there. Gene was standing next to me, and he surveyed the line. "Go for that little girl in the bonnet," he whispered to me. I checked her out. She was barely three and a good head smaller than me. She even looked like she was drooling, and she still had baby fat. "Got it," I said quickly transforming into Sarah Tuff. I dug my feet into the sand, and started running as hard and as fast as I could. I headed straight for that little wimpy girl like a charging bull (straight for HER, not her clasped hands). I took her out--full on head butt--and I knocked her into the sand on her back. Sarah Tuff stood up, dusted herself off, and gave Gene a thumbs up.
But, when I turned around, I saw the blood everywhere. And the counselors were all panicked and yelling. That little bonnet girl had a busted lip. I got thrown out of the game. Then the counselors saw my brother laughing hysterically, so they called our parents. That was the end of the Beach Brigade for the week.
I'm sure my parents were thrilled to be the only adults by the pool who were saddled with their out-of-control ninja children. But we didn't care. We figured out how to wrestle on top of our turtle shaped floatie and see who would be the first one to fling the other one off.
Sarah Tuff eventually won, of course.
After a couple of busted lips of her own.
sf aka st