Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Here is some information you may, or may not have. If you take a banana, (it has to be fairly ripe, though not squishy) peel it, then pinch gently on one end, the banana will divide lengthwise into three long, curving, beautiful banana sticks. Of course, I am aware that you probably already knew this. Everybody seems to have known it, except, that is, for me. And my question is: Why wasn’t I told?
Is it because I am not curious enough? Surely I could not have been expected to find this out on my own! That would have required playing with my food, an activity frowned upon by the adults of my childhood.
Or was I deliberately left out of the loop? This seems unlikely. Try as I might, I certainly cannot think of any reason why the truth should have been hidden from me. It’s not as if I have a history of cruelty to bananas.
The truth slipped into my sphere of awareness. It came so softly, so unobtrusively that I might have missed it had I been daydreaming. I first heard rumblings of it while having lunch with my colleagues. “What did you say?” I queried, rousing myself from visions of an afternoon nap. “A banana will divide lengthwise into perfect thirds? Describe to me the exact process.” I assumed they were pulling my leg (they are prone to antics like that). But they described a process, and insisted it could work. . I’ll confess it. I didn’t believe them. Trouble is, they’ve been right in the past.
I recalled how the friend of one of my friends convinced my friend that you could boil water in a paper bag over an open fire. He said it wasn’t easy. You had to start with a very hot fire so the water could boil quickly. It was, he said, a race against time. I recall how vehemently I argued. I said the bag would catch fire. Then I reasoned that the water would soak right through it. He praised my deductive skills (I am a sucker for flattery). Then he said that explained why you had to hurry. It is just possible that I believed him for a moment. Tricksters are everywhere. My friend believed him more than I did. I’ve mentioned it to a lot of people over the years. None of them believe it.
But the banana thing? Well, I just couldn’t tell for sure. And so, on the off chance that there might have been some substance to it, I asked David a tentative question about the nature of bananas. He answered me calmly. He said you could split a banana in three by squeezing its tip. He offered to show me. I didn’t know what to think when the experiment did not work on my breakfast banana. He said maybe the banana had to be riper.
Then, yesterday, all by myself, I peeled a banana and deftly but gently pinched its tip. Voila! Three long, perfect, curving banana sticks. I didn’t know what to do. I thought of bronzing them. I almost called my friend in Vancouver to ask her if she believed a banana would split in thirds if you gently squeezed its tip. Then I remembered that it was only 5:30 AM in Vancouver, so I gazed at them in a prolonged rhapsody of wonder. . They were so exquisite I could hardly eat them, though I will say that they formed a lovely pattern on my toast.
Now I am wondering what other amazing discoveries await me. This morning I spoke to a green pepper in the vegetable compartment of the fridge. “What secrets have you been keeping from me?” I asked. I tapped its top, massaged its middle. I bonked its bottom. Nothing happened, no change I could determine at the time, anyway. But it could be that the results have a delayed effect. Science is like that. It’s a lot easier to interpret a result once you know what result you are expecting. And then again, it may be that I aimed my inquiry at the wrong source. I didn’t hear about the banana miracle from a banana.
If there’s an extra spring in my step this morning it is because a window of possibility has opened for me. A lot of things are possible. I can’t tell you what they are. Nobody has told me yet. Well, maybe people have been telling me and I haven’t believed them. I didn’t actually try the thing with the paper bag. I don’t know if I will. Opportunity may be limited. I am hardly ever left all alone with a paper bag, a cup of water and a very hot open fire.
This I can say for sure. In 2009 I will be keeping my ears open for unsolicited tips on the nature of green peppers, or red peppers, or any other facts that have been kept from me all these years.


Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh! I know this is totally random, but my friend has been, let's face it, down right obsesssed about banana's lately! Especially the part about it splitting into thirds. It all started one day at lunch when we were thinking of strange questions about fruit. We wondered how banana's grew, because they had such little seeds that we were'nt sure how you planted them. So, we she found out on the internet that bananas that are store bought are planted so that they grow small seeds, but wild banana trees have big seeds! We had never known this and thought we were pretty brilliant. I guess somewhere she might've found information that the bananas split into thirds! And now, every lunch at school, she tries grabbing a banana to eat and splitting it into thirds! hahahah she really makes me laugh

Anonymous said...

though you should be well practiced by now, it's easier if you cut a bit of the tip off first with the peel still on it. then with the peel still on it, gently roll the tip between your fingers until you see it trying to separate. peel, and it should be easy as you please to get it to come apart. lovely read by the way.