"Spin" in aviation training: a "stall" or loss of lift, a subsequent nose-down spin, the specific actions required for recovery, and the feeling, after recovery, that you could tackle absolutely anything!

Monday, 21 March 2011

Just a Plastic Banana? I Think Not!

I found three plastic bananas in a drawer in my kitchen.  I was going to throw them out but I knew that if I did, I would need them seconds later.  Don't kid yourself. Plastic bananas: When you need one they're nowhere in sight and you're outta' luck.   Then you're kicking yourself for the rest of the day wondering why you were such a chump.  So I thought for a minute.  I could use one to rob a bank, using the banana instead of a gun in my pocket but I don't have the nerve.  I could hang all three from my rearview mirror and turn the van into a taxi.  Or, when I'm in a mood, I could fashion the trio into a Carribbean scene and wear it on my head; with the right shoes you can get away with anything.  But then I began to consider these fakes before me. I mean, really consider them. I was actually quite impressed.

The plastic bananas, other than being only slightly shiner than the real thing, are an excellent copy.  The size is perfect.  The colour is great.  And each banana even has a few tiny imperfections, just like the real thing.  A lot of work went into these, along with all of the other plastic fruit out there because it's an industry.  That's right.  There are factories that employ artists that come up with the details, and molds, engineers and workers that handle the replication process, and then the whole marketing angle.  These bananas are part of an economy.  There are people who make a living an "faux fruits."  It's nothing to sneeze at.

 The whole concept actually started with the Pharaohs in Egypt.  When a king died, he was buried with everything he might need in the afterlife; needle and thread, sunscreen, and of course, fake fruit.  You couldn't take a real banana with you into the hold.  There is nothing worse than arriving at the afterlife, opening your lunch bag and smelling the smell of a bruised, squishy banana.  The only thing worse is milk in a thermos.  This plastic fare, in a broader sense was also used in Japan after W.W. II. Foreigners, helping to rebuild the country, couldn't read Japanese, so the restaurants had their entrees represented by fakes to serve as a visual clue to whatever was in the pot.  I'm guessing that the famous "rubber chicken" may have been born with this wave of pliable produce.

The only shame is that we will never get to meet the people that helped to craft the fakes.  I'm sure, like any artists, some are better than others; "Oh, I see you have a 'so-and-so bunch-o'-grapes' on your counter.  He's very good.  I have taken all of my gold stock and invested it in him instead.  I really think he's going somewhere!"  So don't be so hasty to trash these gems. There's a lot more to this "bunch" than you might think.  And somewhere, in the afterlife, some Pharaoh is trying to stifle his laughter as he waits for his friend to round the corner and step on a fake banana peel.  Always with the jokes, those guys.

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