There's something disturbing about the art at the Fiddlee Fig. Not that I'm an art expert by any stretch of the mind, but I can't help feeling a little sheepish wolfing down my r'euben sandwich while the bananas are doing that on the wall.
You know what I mean. Two bananas Ä with opposable thumbs, mind you Ä locked in brazen embrace, unpeeling each other. On the surface it just sounds plain wrong. I often suppress the urge to yell "Get a room" every time I walk through the Fig. But knowing that UA administrators never make arbitrary decisions, the bananas must have some essential purpose.
Undaunted by my initial revulsion, some of my fellow academians and I spent the better part of a dinner hour wondering what banana copulation has to do with our college lives.
The psychology major spoke up first:
"Obviously, the two bananas are phallic symbols engaging in sex while the cherry, a symbol of female virginity, is marginalized beneath the pie crust," she said. This touched off a host of Freudian fantasies available only at your neighborhood grocery store. However, a well-stocked refrigerator could be a smashing solution the next time your lover says, "I don't know, what do you want to do tonight?"
Then we bantered about the sex of the bananas. Why does the one on the left seem female and the right one male? Is it that he flaunts that junior high Romeo slouch or that she's the one losing her peel? Are we merely assuming they're heterosexual because one seems to take an aggressive, stereotypical male stance while the other gestures tenderly toward the other's stalk? Has society programmed us? Is this banana foreplay, and if so, how do bananas mate? All good liberal arts thoughts.
But why the opposable thumbs?
The history major said, "It seems bananas are more advanced than we thought. Apes, dolphins, humans, bananas Ä it's a natural progression."
More confused than ever, I asked a molecular and cellular biology major
about banana sex.
He said he once visited a banana plantation and learned to never leave a pair of bananas alone again.
"Shocking," I said. "Tell me more."
"Well, it seems they don't mate in social settings of more than two Ä that's why they grow and are sold in bunches," he said.
Suddenly, I thought differently about the two bananas reeking in my closet. Now I lay awake wondering what they're doing in there alone. Next time I leave I'm going to do what I've seen Student Health workers do a million times Ä put condoms on my bananas before intercourse.
Luckily, the atheist existentialist in my life brought my divergent thoughts back to center. She said, "Why does it matter what sex they are if they're enjoying each other's banananess?" This was profound. So profound, in fact, that I felt an urge to flick my Bic and sing "Kum Bah Yah." With no bananas in sight, I settled for a kosher dill. You can't go wrong with a kosher dill.
Later, I consulted a friend with an art history master's degree who prudely replied, "It's so wrong. They're just bananas." Seeming the most plausible explanation, I quickly dismissed it but formed a tuition-funded committee to look into it.
As a wordsmith, I feel compelled to comment on the picture's title Ä "Apeeling." A clever play on words, yes, but oh so much more to the trained observer. Every good Latin student knows that the word "appello" is derived from the formal use of the word meaning "to entreat a higher court." So, the play on words leaves me with another disturbing thought. Would disrobing at Parking and Transportation improve the chances of appealing my parking tickets? And what if I began the striptease in a Chiquita banana outfit? Would this appease the gods of Parking and Transportation?
There are no easy answers to this one. Everyone sees things through their own distorted impressions. However, I have to side with my existentialist friend and encourage everyone to simply celebrate your own banananess. Bon Apetit!
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