Big Mike Bananas And Our Normal Lives In The Post-Apocalypse: Part 2

If you’ve been reading you know that bananas are genetically maladapted, poised to drop dead en masse, and there’s a pathogen that’s actively and globally killing every banana it can. (You also know I consider the zombie apocalypse just another shitty day instead of a reason to weep in movies.) Now consider this:


We’re already in a banana post apocalypse wasteland! I had no clue. Sorry to break it to you this way but our world is really just the miserable and tasteless wreckage of the banana disasters of yore. Please don’t cry.

Originally most commercial bananas were a variant called Gros Michel (Big Mike). A pathogen went ape on Big Mike. The ensuing planetary horticultural rampage drove Big Mike into the corner and stomped it to dust. Nobody remembers this because it was bananas and happened before the advent of cell phones. (Ancient history to Americans.) If it was dogs and happened last February we’d remember. (Though, given the average American’s grasp of history we’d forget Fido’s untimely demise by the next Superbowl.)

I’m shocked. Every banana I’ve eaten is the post apocalypse reconstruction replacement? Shit! It turns out I’ve been eating the Cavendish banana. That’s right. I’ve never had a banana that wasn’t the last ditch effort of the lab coat guys from the last banana war. God bless ’em.

Unfortunately, everyone agrees the current strain is inferior to the good old days of yore. I’ve been eating shit all this time! I had no idea my life was marred by inferior bananas.

Which brings me back to my original point. From various viewpoints we’re already living in post-apocalypse times. It simply doesn’t feel like tragedy because it happened slowly, or long ago, or the dudes in labcoats came up with a backup plan. The wipeout of Big Mike isn’t good news but we absorbed it so completely I had no idea.

We are in the “post apocalypse” of many things. Don’t give a shit about bananas? (How can you not like bananas? You monster!) Fine! Try different examples: You know that Christmas carol “chestnuts warming by an open fire”? Chestnut blight means you don’t get them in America. (They’re delicious when roasted by the way.) Think it’s only modern evil assholes at Monsanto that had this problem? Look up silphium which presumably died out around 200BC in Libya. (Gonna’ blame that disaster on America, GMOs, or global warming? Which is it hippie!)

Don’t give a rip about plants or trees? Fine! How about shit that killed people “apocalypse style”? The black plague pretty much hosed Europe. How can that not be an apocalypse? It doesn’t count if it happens to Europe? Fine PC freak, read up on small pox instead. Still bored because history is all old stuff? OK go ahead and vacation in Sierra Leone this summer and ask about Ebola.

Think I’m only talking about biology? Ask Europe about the fall of the Roman Empire. Our press tells me every election is the new improved precipice of doom but the fall of Rome is a done deal. From what I can tell it royally sucked for centuries. Eventually Europe recovered (to whatever extent you want to define recovery). Or at least it’s… you know there. People live there and everything. Think about it. People live right smack dab where the Holy Roman Empire collapsed and left everyone shitting in buckets for centuries until the black plague killed 2/3 of the population. In short, the “unthinkable” has already happened. Often.

Go team humanity! We’re hard core survivors!


P.S. I really want a Big Mike banana just to say I’ve eaten one. (I also want a Woolly Mammoth steak but that’s another story.) In a world with Fed Ex, getting a “special banana” has got to be possible. They’re rare but not extinct. If anyone knows where to get one (banana or mammoth steak) drop me a private e-mail.  Note: in my climate I can barely keep the pipes thawed so don’t tell me to buy a Big Mike seedling and grow it. (Mammoths would thrive in my climate though. So if you’ve got any mammoths for sale I’m in! I’ll raise ’em up to market size in a jiffy!)

About Adaptive Curmudgeon

I will neither confirm nor deny that I actually exist.
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26 Responses to Big Mike Bananas And Our Normal Lives In The Post-Apocalypse: Part 2

  1. Ruth says:

    They’re working on a chestnut hybrid that’ll be resistant to blight. Cross your fingers! As it is I plant to put in American Chestnuts on my front line, but unless they can perfect their hybrid before I’m ready to plan blight will be my constant worry….

    • There are also breeds of elm which are resistant to Dutch Elm Disease. Perhaps in a couple hundred years chestnut and elm will be “sorta'” back. Incidentally I get the idea that chestunt, being a “food crop” was favored by indigenous populations thus was present in much greater proportion in eastern forests than one would expect.

    • Ruth says:

      (apparently I can’t type, or else my fingers transposed “plan” and “plant”, sorry)

      Yah, chestnuts may have been around in much wider population than most folks realize. I know a couple folks who have trees on their property now and they say that once mature enough to produce they’re VERY prolific!

  2. weisshaupt says:
    I suspect someone there has a plant and can arrange it.

    “Ask Europe about the fall of the Roman Empire. Our press tells me every election is the new improved precipice of doom but the fall of Rome is a done deal. From what I can tell it royally sucked for centuries. ”

    And that is why its called the end of the world as we know it, and not the end of the world. Yes, some badasses will survive, just as some bad ass plants of Gros Michel survived. And life sucked for them (and the people who could no longer consume them) just as life will suck for us without the rule of law, and a bunch of libtards hell bent on ” fixing it” – IN the end its not just going to be a species of banana that won’t be available.

    Now I am sad about Bananas in addition to having the bury the republic.

  3. Glenn555 says:

    A.C., I think you worry too much. I have lived/worked for many years in South America, the Caribean, and in Puerto Rico. My back yard garden contained 7 types of banana, 3 of avacado and a delicious type of large squash that had to be managed carefully to prevent it taking over the whole neighborhood. Fear not, there will be bananas. Incidently, NO store bought bananas have any real flavor. Until you’ve had a naturally grown/ripened one, you’ve never had a banana.

    • Dammit! I’ve never had a good banana and it’s pissing me off!

      Thanks for the note of optimism though.

      • Glenn555 says:

        Yer truck won’t get there, though P.R. is a Nice trip if you go to the south. No San Juan. Go to Ponce. A nice city, relatively safe now. Enjoy the amazing food with bananas you never thunk! Heh.

  4. tljhound says:

    My maternal grandfather, born in 1895, was a man who loved eating bananas – with breakfast, in his sack lunch, as an anytime snack, and sliced onto the bowl of coffee or French vanilla ice cream he ate every night. Every night. He said they were good and “good for you” and told me that as a kid they were a rare treat available only when his father went to town with cash in his pocket. That meant they’d sold livestock or crops or labor for hard currency rather than barter, they’d paid their debts, bought groceries and whatever, and had a little money left over. He lived until the mid 1970’s so he must have transitioned from Big Mike to Cavendish but I don’t remember him mentioning it.

    My banana story goes back to 1969 in the Central Highlands of VN. Bananas, hundreds of acres of bananas, grew [wild?] on flat ground east and south of our base camp and local villagers cut the bunches and loaded them on top of trucks [brand new Desoto trucks -that’s another story] already loaded to the top of the rack bodies with burlap bags of tea leaves destined for Saigon. The bananas were small and ugly, ripened from a dull green to a an even duller brownish copper, and were loaded with hard black seeds. They were an acquired taste, new guys always spit out their first mouthful, but some of us learned to eat if not really like them. The locals ate them fried but I never saw a GI try them that way, the smell of their cooking oil repelled Americans. The women stored their oil in coke bottles and used and reused the same oil to stir fry veggies and fish and ducks and monkeys and …well, everything. Everything included smallish wild pigs and deer the size of beagles, only finer boned, that barked.

    They reused the oil because they were poor, really poor, third world and in the middle of a war poor, not American I think I’m poor because I can’t have everything I want poor. One time when we had a Kit Carson scout [ex-maybe- NVA] with us, a guy we called The Traitor because no one likes or trusts a turncoat even when he rallies to your side, I asked the scout to inquire of the banana pickers how much money they made in a year for their ball breaking labor in the mosquito, snake and leech infested, heat, rain, mud and dust. Did I mention they were picking bananas right in the middle of a live ammo, shooting war ?? The answer, the consensus of several pickers, was $80. Eighty freaking dollars.

  5. p2 says:

    we’re finding mammoth tusks and other various parts all over up here…. ill try to ship a chunk, you can clone the dna, raise it with the piggies, and there’s yer steak….. do i need to add a lab coat for ya?????

  6. Ray in Kentucky says:

    Wooly mammoth Barbecue! I’m from the South, smoked meat is how we roll! I want a rack of ribs like the one that flipped Fred’s car in the Flintstone’s credits.

  7. Phil B says:

    Hmmm … in Texas, you get four steaks to the cow. I wonder how many steaks to the Mammoth would be an acceptable portion in the Lone Star state?

    Interested people want to know, you know!

  8. Rick C says:

    I’ve heard that Earthshippers have had flowering banana trees inside, in winter, with two feet of snow on the ground, at 6500′ altitude.

  9. RickC: All is well. Repost any time you wish.

  10. doubletrouble says:

    Do you eat them monkey style?

  11. Max Damage says:

    One thought: when an animal expands beyond the food supply it dies off, and the food supply gradually returns. Likewise smallpox and anthrax and tetanus are still out there but without viable hosts they’re not spreading. It may be that Big Mike can make a come-back, perhaps a seed in an herbarium is still viable and he has out-lasted the diseases that killed him off? If so, we should call him Big Buck after Buck Rogers, because though it was a stupid show and only an OK comic book it’s the same basic idea.

    • As far as I can tell Big Mike is still in existence and isn’t even particularly rare. The disease is a pathogen of the soil. I have some experience with such things (though not with bananas) and soil based pathogens are incredibly persistent. They tend to spread ever so slowly but never quit an area once they’re in a patch of ground. My guess would be that the soil where bananas are farmed (throughout the globe) is pretty much infused with Big Mike killer and likely always will be… but new ground will do fine with Big Mike until the pathogen inevitably finds that new ground. You can buy a Big Mike “seedling” right now. My climate would kill it super dead though.

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