In 2008, during a classroom break, as I sat around a table with a dozen people I met four days earlier, a young lady took a banana out of her purse, peeled it half way, then she took out a spoon and began to carve the peeled banana into spoon-sized bites. She carried on normal conversation while she fed herself spooned pieces of the banana. I had never before seen or heard of anyone who ate a banana that way. My other classmates did not act as if anything about this was unusual. There was another detail that I will reveal at the end of this article.
This is 2021, and something triggered my memory of the event. Now, I can say, thirteen years later, that it still is the only time I have ever seen or heard of anyone who ate a banana that way. You may be familiar with the Jerry Seinfeld television comedy series. Season six featured an episode titled, “The Pledge Drive,” in which Elaine’s boss unwrapped a Snickers Bar. He placed the candy bar on a plate and ate it using a knife and fork during an office business meeting. So, yeah. In the Seinfeld show, the knife and fork incident sparked a social awareness on Manhattan Island in which “the smart people” began to use various cutlery to eat candy in order not to touch the candy with their fingers (such as eating M&Ms with a tablespoon).
Perhaps human trends begin with the peculiar habit of an individual. Web search, “Ten innovations that built ancient Rome.” You may be surprised by some of the underpinnings of Rome, a world-class empire that rose and lasted more than one thousand years. I was surprised to see the welfare system listed, and that some attribute it to hastening Rome’s eventual downfall. In the United States, we have a welfare system today that is expanding beyond both government control and the capability of the workforce to sustain it.
Cultural assimilation did not make the top ten list. Beginning with the province of Greece, the Romans took the time to assimilate Greek practices that they believed to work well, and to attempt to revise those that did not work well. Then, they invited the Greeks to participate in the newly remodeled culture. This worked, and the practice continued every time the Romans acquired a new province (kingdoms that either capitulated or were defeated in combat). This system of government was complex, but it did expand and the Roman civilization endured well beyond any previous civilization. Graft, greed, decreasing confidence in government, and a failing moral compass among the Roman citizens contributed heavily to the empire breaking, and the return of the broken pieces to their tribal origins.
So, what was the missing detail about the young lady who ate her banana with a spoon? She had a peanut butter cup too. With the spoon, she scooped peanut butter out of the cup, enough to cover the first quarter of the tip of the spoon on the concave side. Then, she used the remaining space of the concave side of the spoon to carve out a piece of the banana. So, she actually ate banana and peanut butter in a single bite, with style and grace, avoiding getting food on her hands. Genius. So far, I have detected no popular trend to do what she did.
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