Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Bananas Gone Bad...

They are the first solid food many of us eat and one of the last. Bananas. Such a fun word to type, fingers just mirroring micro-movements on the keyboard. Just the word itself sounds comforting, all repeating soft A’s and gentle consonants. Bananas are both sterile and wildly propagating, soft fruit protected in a tight jacket. Bananas are found in smoothies and pies, frozen in chocolate and (heavenly, yes) even a sauté. Did you know that a cluster of bananas in a tier is called a hand and the individual bananas are called fingers? Isn’t that even more endearing?

But sometimes good bananas go bad. The lifespan of the average banana on your kitchen counter may be, oh, two to four days from solidly yellow to mottled brown, but for some bananas of a more Type A nature, it is a much more brief shelf-life, and a much more ugly demise. They would prefer to burn out – or, rather, brown out – than to fade away. How many times have this happened: you give your banana a knowing little smile one night before you go to sleep – to dream of smoothies and custards and round or oblong (what is your preference?) slices on your morning porridge – and then you get that sinking feeling when you pick it up in the morning. It feels funny. It is browner than it should be and maybe one of its seams is unzipped a little. It is weepy and oily and sad inside. As you try to figure out what to do with it, the banana seems to decay by the second. Before long, it is fully committed to its decomposition cycle. Taps is playing in the background. The mood is somber.

So what do you do with a banana like this, inedible in its present state but being someone who is disinclined to waste? Some suggestions…

Twenty-five Uses For A Nasty Banana

1. Draw a sad face on it in Sharpie and mail it to Anthony Bourdain, Dick Cheney, the latest Fox News assclown who you can’t be bothered to learn the name of, or your favorite pick. Mail it fourth class. From Death Valley.

2. Puree it and use it as egg replacer posthaste! (One half large or one small banana blended until smooth equals one egg.)

3. Start a fruit fly colony. Study their complex and highly nuanced social behaviors. Name them. Become the Jane Goodall of fruit flies.

4. Prop the banana up and use it as a surrogate for an adversary in a debate. Bananas are famously slippery: stay on top of your game so that you are not trounced.

5. Take a picture with your cat or dog and the banana. Can you think of a good word balloon to accompany this? Something very cute? “I Can Has 'Nana?”

6. Dingdong ditch. (In other words, put it on someone’s doorstep, ring the doorbell and run.)

7. Stuff it in your pants just to see. Extra points if you then hug a friend.

8. Write a long and involved and adorably quirky story about this banana and its relevance to your life, list it on eBay and see what happens. Add cleverly crafted footnotes to ratchet things up a notch.

9. Stick some earth-toned soy wax candles in it for a raw foodist’s birthday party.

10. Begin your career as a prop comic.

11. Hone your still life painting skills. Quickly.

12. Take the banana on a last trip around the world, or at least down the block.

13. Start a write-in campaign for your banana to run for state senate. Platform ideas: hard on the outside, soft on the inside. Scratch that. Beloved by babies and senior alike? Neither very important voting blocks. How about this: Because everyone loves banana bread. It’s simple but golden.

14. Knit it a banana cozy to stave off further decomposition. Become the darling of the indie DIY crafters set with your useless but adorably retro creations.

15. Purchase some baby bananas for it to see if they make your banana feel younger. Warning: it could easily have the opposite effect.

16. Mash it up and invite your one friend with the baby over.

17. Stunt! Figure out some blog-endurance stunt featuring the banana and keep it going until you can’t see through the swarm of fruit flies or you have a book and movie deal. Ideas: dress it up as boyfriends from your past and create re-enactments with it and a peach [your surrogate]. Or travel with the banana back to its country of origin, fall in love with a swarthy, earthy stranger there who mocks your neurotic, complicated Western life and, in the process, find yourself. Eat banana pancakes along the way.

18. Bronze it.

19. Send in a video audition to The Real World, 2010. Play up the foreign bad boy angle.

20. Contemplate its banananess until you have reached a state of nirvana.

21. See if banana peels really make unsuspecting people slip, especially when two workers are carrying a long, clear piece of glass across the sidewalk.

22. Do bananas float? Find out. Do they burn? Find out. Do they splatter when dropped from great heights? You know what to do.

23. Pretend that you’ve mistaken your banana for a phone and talk into it to make your toddler laugh while making a funny face. This never stops being funny.

24. Watch an episode of The Banana Splits with it for old time’s sake, just the two of you all cozy. Order in Chinese food.

25. Accidentally leave it on the bus.

What are your ideas for downturn bananas?


  1. Hi, Marla!

    I just have to share my latest post with you, since your "Bananas Gone Bad" photo inspired me to write it! :-)


    By the way, you and I met a hundred years ago at WorldFest in LA (in Sept 2001), and though I don't expect you to remember me, I remember you! And I still wear my Vegan Gym tank tops from Vegan Street! :-) I always loved your wonderful writing on that web site, so was tickled to find your blog this week! I'll be a regular visitor.

    Wishing you only GOOD bananas,
    Laurie :-)

  2. Hi, Laurie!

    LOVE the Peace Banana! (And thank you for commenting: my poor banana was feeling even more pathetic, if you can imagine that.) Thanks so much for writing in. I had fun at WorldFest, met so many people and have a lousy memory to boot but I'm sure that I would remember you if I saw your photo. I love the Mehitable Day name. Wow. Let's stay in touch and get that blog going so I can keep up to date. ;)


  3. Hi, Marla!

    Thanks for your comments here and on my blog! It's nice to reconnect with you in cyberspace... how nice of our bananas to facilitate that. :-)

    Since I can't think of any other way to do it, I'll post my photo taken at WorldFest on my blog, though if you can remember me after a relatively brief meeting and all these years from just a photo, I'll stand in even greater awe of you than I already do. :-) Wasn't WorldFest wonderful? That was the first one, as I recall! I see they're still going strong.. would love to make it to another one. Maybe someday!

    I'm one of your followers now, so I'll see you 'round the neighborhood!

    Love, peace and bananas,


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