If you haven’t heard by now, or if summer movies just aren’t your thing, a re-boot of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles came out last Friday. Why am I choosing to write about that? It’s quite simple. When I was in elementary school, all I wanted was a Ninja Turtle action figure.
I remember one day one of my classmates coming to school with a Michelangelo Ninja Turtle action figure. I asked him who gave it to him. His response was, “the tooth fairy.”
Now, I grew up poor and therefore I knew early that there was no Santa Claus. Since there wasn’t a Santa Claus, I also knew there sure wasn’t a Tooth Fairy either. Nevertheless, one evening I purposely made a loose tooth fall out. I placed the tooth under my pillow and hoped that the next morning, I would find a Ninja Turtle.
You can already guess what I found. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. I remember asking my mom, “Where’s my Ninja Turtle?” She looked at me like I was crazy because A.) She didn’t know what a Ninja Turtle was and B.) She knew that I knew she had no money to buy me a toy.
Her response was, “Ninja que? (Ninja, what?)...Ninja nada (Ninja nothing). I have some black beans for you though. “
Was I disappointed? Absolutely. However, I knew that although my mother couldn’t afford to buy me toys, she always made sure my brother and I were fed. Even if we did eat “frijoles negros” (black beans) every day, they were the best tasting black beans I could ever asked for, except when she was furious with me and added extra onions.
I’m proud to say twenty-four years later I finally got my Ninja Turtle. About three months ago, I spoke to an AVID class at Garland High School. After my keynote, which included the Ninja Turtle story, the teacher just so happen to have a Ninja Turtle action figure in her classroom and she gave it to me. Pretty cool moment!
We may not always get what we want when we want it. But you never know. Ten, fifteen, twenty-five years later, we just might get it.
“Go Ninja. Go Ninja. Go.”(in Vanilla Ice style, of course).