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The Truth About Bananas

The Truth About Bananas

By Joe Kissell
Curator of Interesting Things

When I was in college, I had a professor who was known for being a bit on the odd side. Although he was smart, friendly, and much loved by the students, he had some strange and inexplicable habits.

For one thing, he had a very peculiar way of speaking, including about a dozen idiosyncratic phrases that he repeated over and over. A friend and I, when we got bored, used to sit in the back of the classroom and keep a tally of how many times he used each of these phrases.

The professor always kept a pen clipped to his collar, even if he was wearing a shirt with a pocket (a practice that amused me so much I adopted it myself-and keep it up to this day). And he encouraged us, on multiple-choice exams, to write in our own answers in the margin if we didn’t like any of his.

Every now and then, this professor came to class with the sticker from a banana on his shirt. The brand varied, but the position did not: it was stuck right above the spot where his pen would be, if he had kept it in his pocket the way normal people do. We assumed it was just another one of his silly habits, but one day, a student actually asked him-during class-what was with the stickers.

He replied, solemnly, “Oh. Yeah. Well, whenever I have a banana for