NEWS – Bananas, Ripe and Otherwise

My Mom had a boyfriend for about a dozen years named Ralph Ceisler. A wonderful guy. Salt of the earth. Big. Heavy. A little reminiscent of Lonesome Lenny in the Tex Avery cartoon of the same name. 580full-lonesome-lenny-poster

I’m remembering he had been in the ladies’ undergarments business before retiring but that may be wrong. That may be Jerry, my mother’s other longterm post-divorce boyfriend. Ralph was a college graduate; in fact, he was very dedicated to and reuned often at his alma mater, the name of which i cannot recall. Veteran Navy officer, had golfing privileges at the local arsenal. When I met him he was older than I am now by about seven years or so. Ralph was in the habit of saying, “At my age, I don’t buy green bananas.” green bananas isolated on white background with clipping pathThere’s a carpe diem aspect to that, I suppose. “When I want a banana, I want it now. I want it ripe and yellow and ready to go.” Fair enough, right? “My time is precious. I’m not going to waste my time banana waiting.” There’s a disengaging, distancing aspect to it too though, as in, “Don’t get me involved in your banana eating, okay? I just may not be here for the eating.” Fatalistic. He’s accepting a limitation or at least identifying it – “Time is not on my side.” clockAnd here is where i’m going to squeeze the metaphor until it turns blue (or yellow) because I’m going to disagree with Ralph. I say: buy the green bananas. Buy ’em! You need to understand, though, that it’s a bonus, an award, a happy accident of fate if you ever get to eat them ripe. banana-split

Ralph was, as I say, older than I am now but actuarily, he was younger. He had a right to expect more time than I do. Let’s be real: I’m a cancer survivor, I have no spleen and just a little bit of pancreas, I’m diabetic, I’ve got a clip somewhere in my large intestine where i had a mysterious bleeding ulcer. It doesn’t argue for longevity. Remember that friend of your parents they were always visiting in the hospital, someone who looked fine whenever you saw them but who your parents would say, in dour demeanor, was “not in good shape”?

That turns out to be me. And why not? I smoked and drank and drugged and got too little sleep and too much food all my life. I still do, with far too little discipline or moderation. I’ve abhorred exercise and sports and continue to avoid them notwithstanding how weak and windless those hospital stays have left me. The moving finger is not an idiot. It knew where to find me. moving finger

I know. Sometimes that’s just the kind of person who perplexingly lives to 100 but usually not. I’m not saying I’m agnostic as to my future health. I take my insulin at night and frequently during the day too though I don’t test my levels. I do a lot of sitting and lying around but I do a lot of going out too. I’m not sedentary. I stand while I practice guitar (the whole idea that I can learn to play at this point in my life is a little bit green banana buying).  manzanera

My weight has leveled out at a point I would have dreamed of four years ago. It’s not all misbehavior and disaster. This past summer, though, was a dog. I spent June in and out of hospitals in dangerously anemic states and, then, in August, my mom died. wp-1471888972396.jpg

I miss her. I’m not going to come in earlier than the traditional twelve months in assimilating that shock. In the month before my mother died she went to an outdoor rock concert for the first time, she swam, she hung out with my friends and got loaded. She lived in a pretty uncompromised state. 20160701_192221

So, I say, buy the green bananas! Enjoy going to the store and savor the very act of picking them out, the aroma of them ripening in the bowl on the kitchen counter, put them in a pretty bowl and watch each day the way their colors change. yellow bananas

If you do get to eat them say, “Damn, that was a perfect man-banana encounter. I handled it just right and it worked out fantastically.” Then go out and buy some more.

6 Responses to “NEWS – Bananas, Ripe and Otherwise”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Loved this.

  2. newsornotnews Says:

    Thank you.

  3. collabcubed Says:

    That was me, by the way.

  4. Lisa Stern Says:

    thank you for bringing me these moments of joy and reflection. you have to catch the joy whenever you can because that’s what it’s all about. you are such a wonderful writer, i always enjoy reading newsornotnews. your mother went out with a Bang!! go look at the moon and smell the roses!

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