Going bananas

green-banana-bunch-in-a-vegetable-farm-f2You will never know how shocked I was, as a lad, to learn that bananas grow with their stems down and their tips up. I mean, that’s just crazy. Imagine apples growing upward instead of hanging from their stems. It defies logic. Maybe this is why people who have one wheel in the sand are sometimes said to have gone “bananas.”

In addition to being associated with those gone bonkers, bananas are also related to a couple of events that anyone who has not taken leave of his senses would rather skip. Specifically, slipping on a banana peel has long been associated with a bad fall, and there are those who, for one reason or another, may find themselves being counseled not to buy any green bananas. This is usually not a good omen.

On the other hand, once a green banana turns the corner, it has a notoriously short shelf life. It has been my experience to carefully select a perfectly firm, unblemished, yellow banana at the grocery store on any given Saturday only to find that it has developed a case of black freckles before I can get it in the front door. By Monday it has a terminal case of keratosis. I will never know how it knows that I took it out of the store.

I must say, I don’t particularly care for the taste of bananas anyway. But I sometimes take them with me to the office or on weekend outings as snacks simply because they come in their own wrappers. Thus, convenience wins out over flavor. And they have the added benefit of being really cheap for some reason–something like sixty-nine cents per pound. One can buy a lot of bananas for only a little lettuce. But, I am more inclined to have a salad.

In my experience, it also seems that women are more likely to select bananas over other fruits than are men. How often have you heard of a guy ordering a banana daiquiri? But, then again, maybe it’s the daiquiri, not the banana, that’s the issue. Your guess is as good as mine.

As a public service, I should mention that there are those who would prescribe the consumption of bananas for certain medicinal purposes. Bananas apparently contain plenty of potassium, which is reported to aid in reducing cramps or charlie horses, for example. Other healing properties associated with the inclusion of bananas in one’s diet is the relief of intestinal binding or, on the other hand, it can reportedly firm up a good case of dysentery–works both ways, it would seem. Although I have yet to come across any banana stems at my local grocery store, they are said to be beneficial in dissolving kidney and urinary stones and also “reduce the worm problem with kids.” That last one is a good indicator of why we should not believe everything we read on the Internet.

The X-Men and Justin Bieber lunch boxes stowed in the backpacks of America’s children as they shuffle off to the school bus in the morning often include bananas, stuffed in there by their moms. And, with its characteristic curve, a banana looks great nestled snugly among the PBJ sandwich and carrot sticks–the picture of a healthy diet. However, I have a hunch that they are more likely to wind up in the trash bin than being traded for cookies. I mean, what kid in his right mind, even one with a worm problem, would trade a stack of Oreos for a banana?

[Banana image courtesy of FIC]

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