There are bananas and then there are bananas, and let me tell you, these bananas were bananas. What I mean is, it was bananas how bananas these bananas were. I’ve been to plenty of places where bananas are grown and I’ve been to plenty of places where bananas are sold, by which I basically mean countries and supermarkets, but in neither have I ever seen a bunch of bananas as bananas as these bananas were.
Ultimately, what I’m referring to when I say that it was bananas how bananas these bananas were, is their size. They were as big as small baseball bats. As big as a healthy ten-year-old child’s forearm, or actually probably bigger. Even with the bend, the biggest of them reached almost all the way from my elbow to my wrist, and I’m a full-grown adult, forty-four years old if you really want to know, and by the way it also really says something about just how bananas these bananas were if, in forty-four years of seeing bananas, I had never seen bananas the size of which even approached the size of these bananas. These bananas were as big as hatchet handles or, as another point of comparison, the tail of an adult Labrador retriever, one of those tails that when, wagging this way and that, it whacks into you, can knock you off balance or, if you’re a child, knock you all the way to the ground, causing you to cry out in confusion and fear. I’ll tell you something else that’s bananas: the reason dogs wag their tails is because it blows their butt smell around into the air for others to smell, and butt smell is to dogs what facial expression is to human beings, which is why when dogs are introduced to one another they don’t look each other in the eye and shake paws but smell each other’s butts at which point, depending on what they smell, a fight is liable to break out, or one to start humping the other, or maybe they just hang out and chill.
But getting back to bananas, it turns out, as bananas as this may be, that I don’t even like bananas. I eat them from time to time, and therefore buy them from time to time, because they’re supposed to be good for you in every way, a so-called “superfood,” but I don’t like them. It’s not their taste that I really mind (not that I love it, mind you), but the texture and consistency, the way the meat of the banana, as it were, turns completely slimy the moment it is moistened by your saliva, and the way it spreads out in your mouth while you chew it without coming apart from itself, like a blobfish on land is a bit how I picture it. For me, eating a banana is what I imagine it must be like to regurgitate corn chips. Maybe I’m not explaining myself well enough, or maybe it just can’t be explained, because people never know what I’m talking about when I talk about what I don’t like about bananas. Some people just say, “What are you talking about?” as if nothing at all could be less objectionable than a banana; others say, “They’re no different than avocados, which you love,” and they do seem to have a point, though to me the experience of eating bananas and avocados is not at all the same.
Unlike me, my father, who is in so many other ways is exactly like me, is bananas about bananas. He eats them all the time, often multiple times a day, and esteems them so much that when he slices one, whether to put the slices into a bowl of fibrous cereal, as he does nearly every morning at breakfast, or between two pieces of bread, one slathered with peanut butter and the other drizzled with honey, thus concocting what he considers to be a healthy lunch or midday snack, he always slices it into a certain preordained number of slices that he considers to be the appropriate number of slices for that banana. The specific number is a mystery, because he will not reveal it when asked, but while he slices away, he can be heard counting quietly to himself and will not respond if spoken to until he has finished lest his tally be disrupted. That said, there is a difference between bananas and bananas bananas, and since there was really only one way to find out whether he was as bananas about bananas bananas as he was about bananas, or even bananas about them at all, I placed a video call from my home to his, traversing in an instant a distance of two hours by air or two days by car. I had separated the biggest of the bananas (the most bananas, in other words) from the bunch in advance, and when he answered I was already holding it up to the camera for him to see. Based on his tepid response, I concluded that video transmission alone was not conveying how bananas this banana was, specifically in terms of its size, so I put my face beside it to demonstrate how the latter was significantly longer, top to bottom, than the former, which is perhaps something short of horse-like but certainly not short.
“Well?” I said, when he still didn’t say anything.
He looked at me like he was waiting for me to say something else, and then, when I didn’t, he shrugged at last and said, “I’d eat it.” This did not strike me as bananas but also did not strike me as definitively not bananas, so according to the premise that doing so would, all things considered, be pretty bananas, and that an answer in the affirmative would therefore confirm that he was not just bananas about bananas, as I’ve described already, but also bananas about bananas bananas such as the bananas banana currently dangling beside my face, I asked him whether he would eat it if I handed it to him through my unzipped fly
“Definitely not” he replied without hesitation, prompting my mother, who until then had been lurking somewhere off camera in silence, to jump to my defense, declaring in a tone of voice in which no small measure of recrimination toward my father could be detected that she would not only eat the banana in question, handed to her in the manner described, but would do so “with pleasure.”
All of which I guess just goes to show that there really are some bananas only a mother could love.
Eli S. Evans has recent, less recent, or forthcoming work in, among others: n+1, X-R-A-Y Lit, E*ratio Postmodern Poetry, Squawk Back, Berfrois, Eclectica, Drunk Monkeys, Right Hand Pointing (One Sentence Poems division). A chapbook with Analog Submission Press (A Partial List of Things I Thought Might Kill Me Before I Started Taking a Daily Dose of Benzodiazepines) was published in August 2020 and sold out thanks to the fact that his mom immediately ordered half of all available copies, and a small book of stories, Obscure & Irregular, is forthcoming with Moon Rabbit Books & Ephemera.