Ring, ring, ring, banana phone

Ben Breier

I am afraid of bananas.

Believe me, I know how absurd this actually sounds – but the world’s most convenient produce absolutely scares the hell out of me. The smell, the texture, the uncanny squishiness – the bottom line is that this fruit is putrid.

And so, I told a couple of friends. That was my first mistake.

During my freshman year, neighbors in my dorm hid bananas throughout my room -ÿthey put them under my bed spread, in my underwear drawer and even in my bookbag. I discovered the latter when I arrived at an art history lecture, howled like Howard Dean in Iowa and promptly left the class.

Enter a new group of friends, and re-enter my bananaphobia. Some people never learn, and I guess I’m just one of them.

Several Stater editors participate in a budget meeting each day to discuss the content that will appear in the next day’s paper and how it will be organized and packaged. Last Wednesday, as I listened to the details of the meeting, nearly drifting off on the scarlet couch, managing editor Seth Roy mentioned a story about a hippopotamus on the front page. Confused and bewildered, I woke up from my daze -ÿonly to see photo editor Gavin Jackson aiming a banana at my face like a modern day Annie Oakley.

What happened next was a potassium Vietnam. All of the editors pulled out bananas and opened up an all-out assault.

I spent the next few minutes dodging and deflecting fruit as fast as I possibly could. During the freak out, general assignment reporter Elise Franco placed a banana on my shoulder -ÿwhen I realized that one was actually resting on me, I seizured like an epileptic with a glow stick at a Paul Oakenfold concert, dive bombing onto the nearby couch.

Don’t believe me? Go on YouTube, and search “Driving Ben Bananas.” It’s there.

Through word of mouth and a video post on the blog of the editor of this Forum page, media outlets began to call the newsroom. And after the Cleveland Free Times wrote a small piece on me this week, I assumed that my 15 minutes of fame were up.


WJW Fox 8 Cleveland called the newsroom yesterday, asking to verify the truth behind my inexplicable distaste for tubular fruit. A few hours later, a reporter and a cameraman were in our newsroom -ÿand they made a special stop at Tops to pick up three bananas.

They wired me up. They sat me down on the same couch where the YouTube incident occurred. And out came the bananas.

Going into the interview, my only goal was to remain as calm as possible -ÿI didn’t want to give the network gratuitous amounts of freakout B-roll to make me look weirder than I actually am.

And naturally, that plan crashed and burned when the reporter began to poke me with the banana. I attempted to brace myself by grabbing the edge of the couch, but it wasn’t enough.

A big part of me hopes that the jig is up -ÿwhile another part wonders how far this will possibly go. Whatever the case may be, keep your fruit away from me.

Ben Breier is a senior magazine journalism major who has severe potassium deficiencies and is campus editor of the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].