Thursday, November 16, 2006

Of Bananas and Men

As we all know, 50%[1] of my DNA is the same as that of a banana; the odds are good that 50% of your DNA is also the same as a banana (assuming all three of us shared the same common ancestor). I've referred to this elsewhere.

The thing is, this is true of all fruit, vegetables[2] and plants. So why are bananas singled out?

There's something about bananas that people identify with. If I said "You share 50% of your DNA with a potato", it sounds like an insult. Bananas are yellow, funny, hold easily in the hand, come with their own wrapping and have a long an honourable history in slapstick. It may not be a compliment, but it's not derogatory.

When I was younger I couldn't get enough of bananas. I was served mashed banana as pudding all the time as a baby, and later I loved bananas in custard. Plus, you can use it as a gun, or shake hands with a bunch. There was a garden centre with a greenhouse somewhere in Scunthorpe, which we went to all the time and it had a banana tree, which was always growing a bunch of bananas. That greenhouse was hot, steamy, exotic and had a banana tree in it! I also loved monkeys at the time, and my ambition was to be a monkey and live in a greenhouse with a banana tree.

Since then I've gone off bananas[3] a bit, but I still have some affection for them.

Update: I meant to mention the Marvel What-If comic mentioned in the linked to comments thread which was "What if the Fantastic Four were fruit?". The only what-if[4] I'd rather see is "What if Bruce Wayne were bitten by a vampire hat?"

[1] -ish
[2] Maybe not mushrooms.
[3] Also monkeys.
[4] Or, as this would be a DC comic, an "elseworld".

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