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Sunday, June 01, 2008

Ninja turtle theory

I forgot that there's a male corollary to Little Women Syndrome: Ninja Turtle Theory, in which every man secretly identifies with Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, or Michaelangelo.

I met the voice of Leonardo from the animated series at a party a few months ago and asked him what he thought of the idea. He either had given his character motivation a great deal of thought or was humoring me because we talked for some time about the theory and its practitioners.

Inside every man there is a ninja turtle but there are also ambiguities. For instance, Leonardo expends a lot of emotional energy convincing the others (and himself) that he is a great leader because he is insecure about his fighting skills. Maybe Donatello has similar worries, which he tries to fend off with his brilliance. Michaelangelo has no demons.

I called my brother the next day to tell him about it. He was five at the height of ninja turtle mania and the source of much of my information about the gang.

"Aren't you excited? Do you remember which ninja turtle you are?" I asked.

He didn't say anything.

"You're Raphael! Raphael!" I shouted into the phone. "You're the entire basis of Ninja Turtle Theory: you thought you were Raphael. You wanted us to call you Raphael."

In true Raphael fashion, he is a man of few words. "You weren't supposed to remember that," he said.

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