Saturday, October 10, 2009

Banana Man

I’m feeling really badly for the banana man.

I saw him on the corner as I turned into the supermarket parking lot. He was dressed like a banana, but the costume was cheap. It was not a big, firm Chiquita banana suit. It was more like a flimsy yellow tunic cinched together around the knees and atop his head so he gave the impression of a banana. A Picasso banana, not a Chuck Close.

But it wasn’t the costume that saddened me, it was the way he wore it. He was a big guy, shaped more like an eggplant than a banana. He wore glasses and hadn’t shaved for a few days and he clearly looked unhappy in his fruity role. He held a sign for the local party goods store, but he hung his stem in shame.

You could tell by looking at him that he was not a popular fellow. Perhaps he still lived with his mother. I almost wished he lived alone, so when he returned home at night, he wouldn’t have to recount his day as a banana to anyone. That seemed like it would just kill him.

I wondered whether it was the nature of the job. Whether anyone who had to work as a banana would feel the same way. I don’t think so. I think my husband would be a happy banana. I can think of at least a dozen other men who would as well. I tried to imagine George Bush as a banana. And, of course, Obama. What I’m saying is, if you stick a man in a banana suit, you are not hiding his true identity. You’re illuminating it.

I often get impatient with people like this guy. Sulky and self-pitying. I would normally think, Come on! Be a good banana!

But it was just wrong to put this guy in a banana suit. He’s not cut out for it. Somebody upstairs should have been paying closer attention, given the job to the pink-haired girl with the nose rings. This guy should be filling the helium balloons, maybe erecting the window display.

I mean, really. What does it take to pick the right banana?

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