I dragged myself out of the bed this morning in a pretty fair mood-gloomy. I wasn't looking forward to a dismal day. A kind of day that really depresses and distresses my dear wife.It's coffee and morning paper time. (She makes the coffee and brings in the paper.) After I read the sports and business section, I figure I need more nourishment and an uplift (The Philies lost again, our stocks took a dive.)

I spotted a couple of bananas on the kitchen cabinet. Okay, bananas and cereal it will be this dreary morning.

Start the day with a banana and get it over with.

It's over to the utensil drawer for the right tool to slice this narrow, somewhat curved fruit with the creamy flesh and yellow skin. To peel or not to peel? That is the question.

Did you know that this herbaceous, nutritious delicacy is closely related to the plantain? It is extensively cultivated in tropical countries for it's soft luscious fruit. It is a staple food for millions of people.

The United States is the world's largest importer of bananas.

I've read that the average American consumes more than 18 pounds a year.

I'm told that down-under in Australia a resident in tropical Queensland is called a "Banana." If you don't believe me, ask Crocodile Dundee, Paul Hogan.

Getting back to my breakfast. My wife (spirits still dampened by the lousy weather) entered the kitchen.

"Hey hon," I said, hoping to put her in a better frame of mind. "Hon, watch this, I never took a lesson." I proceeded to peel the banana, making a big production out of it.

Her reaction? Same as yours. She figured I just went off the deep end. "Going bananas," so to speak. So much for my attempt at joviality. "You're a wacko!"

So okay, I accepted her critical assessment of my humble effort toward whimsy. She added, "Dumb."

Not to be denied, my defense was simple. "I think it might make for a pretty good column, HOW TO PEEL A BANANA, what do you think?"

"Sure it would, a column of at least five lines. That would make a great piece of work."

UH OH! Another challenge. So here goes:

HOW TO PEEL A BANANA

1. Select a ripe yellow banana from the bunch.

(Ripe bananas are richer in vitamins and easier to digest.)

2. Grasp the delectable fruit firmly.

3. Start by cutting the stem.

4. On either side, gently with a steady motion separate each of the three sections one at a time.

5. Peeling two-thirds down will allow you to enjoy the delicious fruit directly from the overhanging skin.

6. Should you choose to do so, removing the strips completely opens the door to endless possibilities. You might want to dip it in chocolate and freeze it. Or mix it in a favorite recipe (puddings or cakes.)

How about my all time favorite? A banana split.

Oh what the heck, just do what I did this dismal morning (now that I've showed you how). Cut it up in small chunks and chuck them into a bowl of corn flakes.

There's nothing quite like bananas with milk and cereal. Nothing like a delicious banana by itself either.

Thinking about it: Some days my life resembles a banana. I'm green one day, yellow the next, and brown and mushy the third day. (This is my third day.)

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