So… it was the summer of 1986.
I had just finished my first year at Wesleyan University and was 18 years old. I spent that summer in NYC living on the Lower East Side, which was both dangerous and magical way back then. I was a pizza guy. So one night at Save the Robots I meet this guy named Ernesto “Splinter” Ramirez, right? I had done some ninja training in high school in Texas and he was putting together a ninja squad and we got along so…
…well… the other three guys in the squad were turtles.
As you all know, they were actual real mutant turtles, now being trained as ninjas. They wanted it to be a quartet, though, but couldn’t find a 4th actual mutant turtle to ninja train, so I jumped in for the summer, basically as a ninja temp. They had all taken Renaissance artist names so I chose Leonardo- because I wasn’t just an “artist”, I was more of an everyman genius, see?
It was three crazy months, and after I left the crew and went back to college they got a proper mutant turtle as the new #4, but I left my mark- NEWS FLASH: it was ME who introduced them to pizza. (I am aware that I should have used first person there. Shut up.)
Oh, and PS: MY Leonardo used a baseball bat, not a sword, because Baseball Furies (look them up). The new guy didn’t know “The Warriors” and he thought swords were cooler, but NOTHING is cooler than the Baseball Furies.
Well, 23 May being World Turtle Day, I thought I’d bust out the old costume for once- still fits pretty good!
The turtles are all really good guys and deserve all the love they can get. We chat every few months on Facebook, but just today I wish my old buddies in arms and all their “natural” kin peace, love, and understanding. KAWABUNGA!