Big Mike Bananas And Our Normal Lives In The Post-Apocalypse: Part 1

Pondering the zombie apocalypse reminds me of bananas. I love bananas. They’re my dirt cheap, yummy, easy to peel, oddly exotic, genetically maladapted fruit of choice. Bananas are one of many mundane things for which I’m thankful. I’m old enough to remember when bananas were relatively rare. (It was a long long time ago in a galaxy far far away.) Now they’re in every grocery store all the time. (Also they’re green… which is not yellow and therefore pisses me off; but that’s another story.)

I’m so irretrievably uncool that I ponder agronomy. Many (most?) crops, are precarious. Read up on it and you’ll start getting nervous. (You’ll also bore people on your blog.)

Light reading for those who actually care about agronomy. The rest of you can go back to watching "Ow My Balls" on C-Span.

Light reading for those who actually care about agronomy. The rest of you can go back to watching “Ow My Balls” on C-Span.

Basically every banana you’ve eaten is a clone. (I’m painting with a broad brush. If you’re a hermit botanist living on an atoll 500 nautical miles from Fiji and keep an heirloom banana tree locked in your sealed herbarium I’ll grant you a variance. Also drop me a line because we simply must talk!)

Since they don’t have sex, bananas lack genetic diversity. That’s biology’s way of saying “we’re out of ideas and poised to drop dead en masse”. (Insert joke about Republican party here.) If a pathogen figures out their weakness it’s game over. Perhaps a crop that doesn’t have sex cries out for the sweet release of extinction?

I’ve known this forever. I presume wicked smart dudes in lab coats are on the job to rectify this. I suppose they’re in the employ of “big corporate banana” and facing constant protests from smelly hippies who think kale in Whole Foods is produced by Gaia’s magic wand. Probably they’re ridiculed by people who work in marketing. “Oh you’re a banana scientist? Don’t ever mention your work to me again.”

Ideally they’re developing new strains (the smart dudes in lab coats and not the smelly hippies). Or maybe they’re splicing in genes from lemurs or sacrificing goats or whatever it is that agronomic mad scientists do. I wish them well as they struggle to keep civilization going. In the meantime I eat bananas fully aware that they could all die and there’s not a damn thing I can do about it.

Recently I learned what I thought was a theoretical risk banana apocalypse is now happening for real. It’s progressing slowly. A pathogen called Panama disease strain TR4 (or as I call it “horrible doom to my yellow treat”) is running amok. Attempts to stop the spread have had disappointing results. I’ll bet dipshits who don’t get biology (which is damn near everyone) aren’t helping. “You mean the dude with the clipboard says I’ve got to sterilize a tractor tire? Screw him!”

Barring unexpected events it’ll slowly churn though cloned fields of bananas making them as commercially unviable as a Socialist’s tax plan. The unexpected event is really up to the dudes in lab coats. (Boring people in lab coats matter. We should have shrines to Norman Borlaug in grocery stores.)

So there you have it. Something bad is happening. It sucks. Dudes in labcoats are the last desperate line of defence. If they fail we’ll be reduced to eating turnips. Is that not the zombie apocalypse?

Stay tuned…

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About Adaptive Curmudgeon

I will neither confirm nor deny that I actually exist.
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6 Responses to Big Mike Bananas And Our Normal Lives In The Post-Apocalypse: Part 1

  1. Robert says:

    The apocalypse will reach a truly terrifying level (Zombies are merely moving targets.) when coffee goes away. As is happening. Dog helps us all. Bananas? Eh, I can live without ’em. A banana split without fruit is ice cream.

  2. Robert says:

    Oh, and I have the book but haven’t read it yet as I’m already sufficiently depressed. And three cheers for Norman!

  3. Wolfman says:

    As I understand it, this has happened once already- the banana of today is different in size and flavour than the middle of last century. That banana fell to a crop disease and is now totally extinct. I don’t know the timing (and I’ll admit I don’t LIKE bananas, and haven’t eaten one in decades) but one hopes that the industry has learned from that experience and is in fact taking steps to re-hybridize a viable crop as a hedge against disaster. I’m not holding my breathe for it though.

    • Dude, you’re giving away the cliffhanger that leads to the next part. 🙂

      You don’t have to like bananas… The world is full of different tastes. How else can we explain kale?

      • Phil B says:

        Or broccoli. How can you explain that? Broccoli is the foul effluvium from Beelzebub’s backside and you stand more chance of getting the egg back into the hen than getting me to eat the damn stuff.

        Bananas, now. How can anyone NOT like something with such a ridiculous name, eh?

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