Is that a banana in your pocket? 

Or are you just happy reading about one?

Shirley!

Shirley, Shirley bo Birley, Bonana fanna fo Firley,

Fee fy mo Mirley, Shirley!

Lincoln!

Lincoln, Lincoln bo Bincoln, Bonana fanna fo Fincoln,

Fee fy mo Mincoln, Lincoln!

Come on everybody!

I say now let's play a game

I betcha I can make a rhyme out of anybody's name…

Okay, Arnold and Marsha and everybody else who thought that Shirley Ellis was playing her famous rhyming game in 1963 with a "banana". Hands up!

Sorry, friends, as you can see it’s close, but according to the official lyrics, there ain’t no bananas, or is that, yes, we have no bananas?

Unlike Hollywood’s 1930s Brazilian dreamboat, Carmen Miranda, and every eponymously named costume for Halloween and otherwise that piles banana-adorned turbans high on party-goers heads. Or the lithe and beautiful dancer, Josephine Baker who charmed Parisians in the ’20s wearing little other than pearls and skirts – or were those belts? – of bananas. All those fat yellow fingers…

Oh my. You weren’t blushing were you? Josephine certainly didn’t. But many Victorian "ladies" did when confronted with the suggestive but innocent fruit. In fact, many a polite hostess excluded them from the dining table. If served at all, the only proper way was to do so singly, on a fine china plate, with a knife and fork, preferably silver. Guests would dispatch same quickly but with as much decorum as possible. Oh, but weren’t they delicious?

Poor banana. Standing in for the real thing in how many high school classroom demos of condoms? And foiling up how many citizens of good standing in stage and screen pratfalls?

Once a luxury food for the rich and well-travelled, and also the mainstay of slaves and the impoverished – how many classist lines has the banana crossed? And how many bounds of reality?

Have you ever known anyone who actually slipped on a banana peel and fell? Of course not. They decompose quickly so they’re only slippery for a very short time. Plus they’re big and easy to see.

How likely would it be to trip on one? How about if you smoked it?

Does anybody out there actually admit to trying to scrape a banana peel and smoking it to get high? Okay, so it was back in the weird hippie days, but, hey, what did you think Donovan was singing about in "Mellow Yellow"?

The groovy idea was this: the whitish lining of the banana peel could induce hallucinogenic states similar to those experienced with LSD. So everybody was eating, peeling, scraping and smoking. Or at least they were according to an article in a 1967 issue of Newsweek , which reported that from Harvard to Haight-Ashbury, a banana-buying boom was underway.

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