Published Jan 16, 2007

You probably think that what you see in cartoons is all fake. Until two nights ago, I would have agreed with you completely. Those scenes where Wile E. Coyote steps off the edge of a cliff and his body plummets to the bottom of the canyon while his face, maudlin, stares at you? Fake. The bits where the Animaniacs bounce off everything? Fake. The part where lab mice try to take over the world every night? OK, maybe not so fake. That should’ve been my hint; the cartoons… they’re all true. I know this because, two nights ago, I slipped on a banana peel.

Slipping on a banana peel is exactly what you’d think it would be like from watching Bugs Bunny. You walk unsuspectingly along the road; one foot goes out in front of the other; said foot rotates upwards in an arc; your upper body rotates backwards; your body begins to describe a circle about the axis of your belt. It’s very exciting, to say the least. Fortunately, my banana didn’t slide far enough for me to do a full gainer onto the street,1 but it did slide enough for a passer-by to exclaim “did you just slip on a banana?” She and my companion discussed it and concluded that I was the only person they’d ever seen slip on a banana peel. It’s nice to know that I’m unique.

In my own defense, it was night and the banana had in fact gotten old and turned brown, so I fell on a dark thing on the dark ground. But what if more of the things we’ve seen on cartoons were true in real life? Can I really stick my finger in the barrel of a gun and make it blow up? If I hold a bomb up to my face, will I just end up with a blackened nose? If I’m the guy who bought said bomb from Acme, will I be pissed off because my good money didn’t create the size boom that I expected?

And what of the possiblities that come from strapping a rocket to my back and roller skates to my feet? Man, I shoud buy roller skates.

1 She asserted that she wouldn’t’ve found it funny if I’d actualy fallen; in contrast, I woud’ve found it much funnier. Guess which gender prefers the Three Stooges.


I bet your companion would have laughed even if you had fallen. She was probably trying to be nice in the face of laughing and pointing at you. ;-)


PS. OMG, roller skates + rockets = fun times in my book!

Hey Wade. Remember when you slipped in your house?
From outside, through your window, I saw you go down and never come up!..
After I came to see you, I kept laughing about it and us laughing, I laughed for several minutes in my car, and I missed laughing with you!

Have you read David Brin’s Uplift series? Early in the final (sixth) book, there’s a chapter that involves slipping on banana peels. Really!