Our freshman dorm room reeked like a cross between overripe bananas and carpet mold. Following a semester at war with hygiene, my body had finally accepted the mold before the bananas so rudely infringed. They didn’t even knock; just settled amongst the festering piles of laundry, potential bed lice, and lingering funk of stale booze.
Oddly enough, my tolerance warmed to the leaky air conditioner doubling as an incubator for mushrooms. And just as I’d relished in the scent of my mother’s lentil soup during saner times, I eventually grew comfortable with the repellently damp stench of that A/C atrocity. In other words, this unventilated shoebox would forever stink like the ass-end of the rainforest, and we could either live in denial or embrace cruel reality. That said, when compared to my buddy’s aspiring Superfund site down the hall – always smelling of warm eggplant and flatulence – our polluted refuge came across like the Four Seasons. Between my fungus and his vegetables, we could have managed quite a trattoria in those days, assuming patrons would overlook the mold (and sudden ambush of eau de banana). When combined, these ingredients spawned a death cocktail of malodorous horseshit.
But then again, what did you care? All things considered, you didn’t have to sleep in that pungent sweatbox, nor allow for disgustingly rank banana peels to slime your radiator grates as they dried; offering the impression that (a) I was banging a Greenpeace activist with a jones for compost, or (b) my suitemates were apes, literally. Nonetheless, when patience became a tedious factor in waiting for the peels to dehydrate, my hair dryer was recruited as an emergency weapon of war. If Steven Tyler could smoke tea leaves to keep in touch with Mama Kin, then a group of moronic eighteen year olds could certainly blow their minds by exploiting the hallucinatory properties of everyone’s favorite phallic crop.
Bananadine, the fictional substance with the asinine name, was the ingredient from which to launch one’s wits into hyperspace. When synchronizing Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of The Moon’ to the ‘Wizard of Oz’ grew tiresome, retrofitting Coke cans into smoke inhalation devices lacked challenge, and erecting beer can pyramids became predictable, an unorthodox produce recipe from a well-burnt baby boomer seized our intrigue. According to Vietnam agitator and ‘Anarchist Cookbook’ author William Powell, banana euphoria could be experienced by scraping the inside of the fruit’s skin, boiling the contents, and smoking the resultant dried powder. Far from ignoring these instructions in lieu of chomping the Chiquita like an obscenely large cigar – one end dipped in lighter fluid and blazing like the Great Chicago Fire – the amenities of a five star kitchen were disappointingly absent from the dorms. A pair of Sub-Zeroes and a Viking range, while nice, would have required creative tiering to the already astronomical tuition costs. As such, abbreviated measures were taken in the quest to purée our brains. Meaning, of course, abbreviated effects were felt. Read: none.
Mr. Powell may have been tooling around his commune with a seven foot gravity bong, clad in an “I ♥ Smoking Bananas” t-shirt, but it didn’t take long for our confederacy of dunces to dismiss him as a crisply toasted lunatic. Said differently, anyone touting the effects of a bogus psychoactive chemical within a how-to guide for explosives manufacturing is a fucking maniac, plain and simple. To add insult to injury, I don’t even like bananas. Not at all, mind you. Not in my cereal. Not in my ice cream. And sure as hell not rolled in E-Z Wider paper. Yet I was now doomed to marinate in the backwash of aromatic dung; staring at glow-stars while quietly awaiting death and praying that my stomach didn’t flip inside-out. To think, I could’ve been catching up on back issues of Shaved Beaver. Or adding extension wings to that beer can pyramid.
If you’re really that intent on frying your head, kid, go sniff some glue.