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The World’s Not Gone Completely Bananas
by Eric Green

With so much danger and uncertainty in the world, including from Covid-19 and its complications, I’ll take anything that allows my life to approximate pre-Covid days--halfway normal, less stressed, and realistically hopeful.

So maybe it was fate when taking my usual path through the underground passageway on my way to the local bank, I bumped into a neighbor in my apartment building, Nancy, who informed me that she had just picked up a free banana from two ladies manning a stand down the street from where we live. I had to quiz Nancy twice--free banana? I stammered--seeing the yellow-colored object in her hand.

At that moment, with the reverberating echo in my brain of criminals running loose everywhere from watching too many violent crime shows, I figured it might be wiser not to enter the bank with a banana in my hand, as the bank teller might mistake it for a pistol or some explosive device. With suspicion lurking all around, you better not take any chances of appearing strange holding a banana while doing a financial transaction, which could lead to a swat team telling you to “drop it” before frog-marching you into the paddy wagon.

In the interest of avoiding a rap sheet, I put off going for the free banana until early the following morning. I rushed down the street and there it was, a cart full of bananas with two smiling ladies welcoming me to please take one and assuring me it was free. I kept waiting to hear the catch, that maybe these ladies were in a cult and bananas were part of brainwashing to have you follow their Svengali. But all the ladies said was “have a good day.”

It was a repeat performance the next morning at the banana stand. No Svengalis, no cult disciples, only this time, I decided to be daring. Would it be okay if I could possibly take two bananas? By all means, please take two free bananas, the ladies insisted, adding that someone else once took 10 free bananas to make banana bread.

With that in mind. I eventually graduated from taking several bananas to grabbing a whole bunch of six or seven of the fruit, in the unlikely event I ever had the compulsion, if not the ability, to use them to make my own banana concoction.

I was to learn later that this banana giveaway was actually a promotion by a local business to provide the public with a healthy eco-friendly snack.

But it does much more than that. Living through these stressful times of Covid-19 and whatnot, heading to that banana stand to unpeel those bananas offers great appeal.

First, it forces me to go outside my comfort zone where you actually might meet and talk to your neighbor, and second, because the stand is there every weekday like clockwork, it provides a sense of comfort and stability that the world hasn’t gone totally bananas.