Ninjas and ponytails

A girl-dad story

Photo by Steve Harvey on Unsplash

I played Ninja’s at the park with my friends today, Daddy.

Oh, really? That’s great. Did you know that Daddy used to be a Ninja?

(Trying to strike up a conversation about my martial arts background so as to impress my 4-year-old daughter as I braid her hair before bed.)

A real ninja?

Yyyyyeah, a real ninja.

(Some hesitancy in my voice knowing that I trained in Aikido, which is about the least bad-ass martial art out there. We didn’t wear ninja uniforms. We wore baggy black pants that resembled skirts. Although, on second thought, that’s kinda bad-ass in and of itself, it’s too complex of an angle to take with a preschooler…)

What kind of ninja, Daddy?

Well, I was more of a samurai than a ninja.

(Trying to back-pedal and justify the skirts — the hakama — because they’re part of Samurai culture, but it’s not really working.)

Oh, well, I’m a ninja. And I hit real.

Weeelll, Rory, we don’t hiiiit. *Dad voice*

(I wanted to say how, instead, we blend and redirect, but — never mind. I’m so not-cool right now. I start to realize the stark reality that my dadness has killed every last shred of whatever coolness I had before.)

We hit, kick, and run away. Like, yyyyah!

Wow, Rory, that’s pretty powerful. A lot of fury there. That’s good. You’re just playing, though, right? You don’t actually hurt people?

(My coolness is done. Gone. Ugh…)

Yeah, it’s a game. But it’s a game that I win.

Oooh… Okay?

I’m a hard ninja.

A hard ninja?

Yeah, like a rock. Hiiiiiyyyah!

(Wow. A hard ninja. So boss. I’ve never been this cool.)

Right on. Which color pony tail do you want? Pink or blue?


You got it.

Thanks, Daddy.

Jonas Ellison is a writer who blogs through his life over at Higher Thoughts, one of the most popular single-author publications on Medium. Subscribe to his daily-ish missives and musings at