In honor of spring recently hitting me like a ton of lead-weighted bricks, I thought I’d write a quick post about a subject that is near and dear to my heart: allergies.
My allergies are for the most part your average run-of-the-mill hay fever deal. I am just particularly sensitive to tree jizz, as many of us are. Nothing fatal; just an annual annoyance.
However, I have one allergy that is just deliciously poetic.
I am allergic to bananas: also known to certain members of our society as “the atheist’s nightmare.”
Interestingly, I only came to the realization of the allergy around the time I was becoming more aware of my identity as an atheist…
Anyway, the story:
Before high school, I loved bananas. They were quite honestly my favorite fruit for a good few years running, an impressive feat for a food that causes a burning sensation in my mouth. What I’m trying to get across is that bananas, to me, were delicious. I would even say that bananas were comforting, to a level that I was willing to consciously overlook the harm that they did to me.
One day in high school, I was sitting around with some of my close friends. I happened to be munching down on one of those delicious yellow phalli of pain, when a thought occurred to me. I blurted out the following question *verbatim*:
“Hey guys, isn’t it weird how when you eat a banana, it feels like a chemical burn in your mouth?”
The looks on their faces were, to say the least, memorable. Each of them had some variation of confusion and alarm expressed as they watched me continue to eat the banana. Finally, one of them spoke up.
“That’s…not how bananas work…”
I thought to myself, “huh, I guess it is just me then” as I finished the banana. I then went on with my life, not giving it much of a second thought. I did not have the counter-banana equivalent of the Damascus road.
It wasn’t for another year or so until I decided to stop eating bananas, because it just wasn’t worth it anymore. As soon as I was made aware that the bananas were harming me, I could no longer overlook it. Every time I ate one I noticed more and more that slight blistering feeling. to the point that I finally just had to stop altogether.
The thing is, the bananas had always hurt, even before I was willing to allow myself to realize it. I remember the bananas causing pain, but I was lulled into overlooking it because bananas are pretty damn tasty. I was deluded; a victim of the force of habit and the willful power of the mind. Also my traitorous taste buds, but that doesn’t fit into the metaphor nearly as well.
Bananas taught me a very important lesson about myself and the world: we are easily fooled creatures, and do not always act in our best interests. Inquiry and questioning are absolutely essential and necessary for us to move forward; lest we continue munching on the metaphorical bananas of those things that ultimately do us harm. It does us all good to take a step back and question our actions, in particular those based solely in habit or tradition.
There are more metaphorical bananas in every society than people are willing to believe.