31 May 2016

At Least It's Not Electrical

Maybe I am old.  After all, I can recall a time when we didn't munch on "energy bars" or anything with the word "energy" in its name.  In fact, such terms--let alone the often-inedible snacks they denoted--hadn't yet been invented.

At least, not as such.  You see, there were other high-calorie bites that became our foods of choice when we needed a boost--and could be easily stowed in bike jersey pockets, tool bags or backpacks.  

One was "gorp".  Upon hearing of it for the first time, most people weren't sure of whether it was the sound of an alien swallowing or vomiting.  But the word was actually an acronym for "Good Ol' Raisins and Peanuts"--not, as some believed,  a synonym for "granola" or "trail mix", though gorp is certainly a type of trail mix.  In time, people started mixing the raisins and peanuts with M&M's or other bits of chocolate.  (I have always liked miniature nonpareils--milk chocolate in those days, dark chocolate now.)  Often, almonds, pistachios, walnuts and other nuts were substituted for peanuts--which are legumes, not nuts--and dried cranberries, cherries, blueberries and other fruits for raisins. 

We used to pack a couple of fistfuls of gorp, or other trail mix concoctions, into fold-top sandwich bags like the ones made by Glad. (If I recall correctly, Ziploc hadn't been invented.)  We did the same with granola:  Back then, nobody had thought to make grainy candy bars out of it. 

Aside from those concoctions, the most popular proto-energy snack was probably the banana.  In those days, I was riding with the Central Jersey Cycle Club and the Century Road Club.  One--or both, perhaps?--used to designate their rides with bananas:  a five-banana ride was long and/or involved a lot of climbing or other difficult conditions, while a one-banana ride was a "social" Sunday afternoon ride.  

While granola and trail mix had more calories and could keep you feeling full until your lunch or dinner stop, the banana was easier to eat and swallow, especially if your mouth was dry.    Also, although food allergies weren't as well-known, we knew that some people had trouble digesting, or simply ingesting, some of the concoctions I've mentioned.  (Who knew that one of the most common allergies was to peanuts?)  On the other hand, while banana allergies have been documented, they don't seem nearly as common. At least, I've never known anyone who couldn't eat bananas for that reason.

Bananas have one problem, though:  While they're easy enough to stash, they're even easier to trash.  And, in the process, they can trash whatever you stash them in.  All right, that's a bit of an exaggeration.  But if you're of my generation, you might have had a banana "explode" or "implode" in the pocket of your wool jersey.  Needless to say, it made a mess.

Perhaps such a memory inspired the creator of this:


I mean, really.  But, hey, it's versatile, right?:


Would this be allowed in states with a concealed-carry law?:


Then again, it's not that difficult to get a banana stain out of a pair of Levi's 501s.  Trust me, I know!

Do you think this is a joke?  Well, here's the real joke:  the price.

At least, neither the bike--nor the banana--is electrical.



  1. i wouldn't call it an allergy, but i have never ever been able to eat a banana- can't abide even the smell of them. Pretty unusual for a cyclist, eh? When i was a kid, my Dad used to torment me by sitting across the table from me and mashing a banana into a slice of bread for a sandwich. i had to leave the kitchen!

  2. Love bananas, would NEVER pay that for a banana holder.

    Some years ago a cyclone wiped out the banana crop in Queensland which accounted for 90% of the Australian crop. It was terrible! The Aus public without bananas was tragic. My youngest adored bananas and requested one for Easter instead of chocolate. She was 3!

  3. A leather banana hammock?


  4. Ah yes, mellow yellow...

    Mellow yellow was a giant joke, a hilarious hoax, perpetrated by the underground/counter culture in 1966 that went mainstream for a short time. The question was, how can grass be illegal? It is a common weed that grows all over the high deserts of the west. So somebody (many say it was "Country Joe" McDonald), started the rumor that if you scrape off the inside of a banana peel and bake it slowly, the resulting flakey substance is a strong psychedelic. The inference is clear: the government has to make bananas illegal. I first heard this after a visit by Country Joe to Portland in '66. People were doubled up laughing, not only at the hoax, but at a few people who actually tried it.

    As for the Electric Banana, everybody then knew Donovan was referencing vibrators, and I have read that he has since confirmed this.

    Lots of banana jokes.


  5. Mike--It sounds like your father traumatized you, at least in regards to bananas.

    Accordion--I read about that somewhere. I have also read that something like 80 percent of the world's banana crop is of one particular variety, which is particularly vulnerable to diseases.

    Wolf--If my gluteus maximus deserves a Brooks Pro, surely a banana deserves no less, don't you agree? ;-)

    Leo--I figured "electrical banana" had something to do with a vibrator. But I didn't know the story about Country Joe. Thanks: It gave me a smile. (It also made me feel young!)