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:
IT HAS HAPPENED BEFORE!
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!)