A Perfect Country for Bananafish

Not to sound like a Mark Chapman-style nutter, but whether I am walking the streets of America, the aisles of Walmart, or the halls of corporations, I am constantly reminded of J.D. Salinger’s literary device: the Bananafish.

What is a Bananafish those who have not been forced to endure Salinger’s Nine Stories in a literature class may ask? 

 “Well, they swim into a hole where there’s a lot of bananas. They’re very ordinary-looking fish when they swim in. But once they get in, they behave like pigs. Why, I’ve known some bananafish to swim into a banana hole and eat as many as seventy-eight bananas…Naturally, after that they’re so fat they can’t get out of the hole again. Can’t fit through the door…They die.”

Sounds like your average American to me.  Each bananahole might have a different label, perhaps “alcohol,” “drugs,” “success,” or “attention,” but there is a banana and a corresponding bananahole for each of us.

So each of us is a bananafish in our own way.  Let’s just hope we realize it while we can still “fit through the door.”


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