Memoirs: A Near-Death Experience

Boys and their bananas

 If you have a proclivity for showing off to your mates, you may want to think carefully about your next party trick.

If you’re going to attempt the classic ‘deepthroat an 8-inch banana to prove you don’t have a gag reflex’ trick, the balmy backdrop of Annecy’s mountains and lakes should be a prerequisite to ensure your audience’s shock and delight in equal measure.

Everyone nurtures hidden talents. Some people are double-jointed, blessed with heightened flexibility. Others flick through Rubik’s cubes trouble-free, endowed with uncanny dweebism and mental capacity. Some people can run annoyingly fast. The upper echelons of society, however, are adept at fruit-stuffing.

This trick – with all its murky homoerotic nuances – has brought me a very small modicum of attention and admiration over the years, mostly from other spotty teenage boys. As a natural, God-given talent, this is not something I feel the need to practise often. Which has meant that I’ve fallen gravely out of touch with my target audience and what they want to see in 2017. I find it’s an ‘if and when’ kind of skill that adds a bit of shock value and a lot of disappointment to specific social situations.

A true artist knows when to put the paintbrush down. I should’ve known when to put the banana down. After a first, routine submersion in my oesophagus went to plan, several of my friends requested I did it again so they could see it. Already soddened from my saliva, the walls of the proud banana lost all their strength ahead of the second plunge. Meaning that when I went to smugly pull the banana back out of my mouth, I was pretty fucking alarmed to find that 7 of the 8 inches remained tightly trapped inside my gullet. At which point I’m told that my eyes widened with genuine fear, as I probed deep into my throat to grab and retrieve the rest of the evil ‘nana. This took a few seconds, which was long enough to make me reevaluate my most polarising of school bus tricks that was so very loved and hated in equal measure.

Lots of people had to stop eating their sandwiches because they were so appalled by what they’d seen. I sat there, sort of shell-shocked, developing my own strange PTSD, imagining what it would have been like for my parents to hear that their beloved first-born had died deepthroating a banana in the French Alps.

I had to get out of the banana game, so I’m on sabbatical, assessing my options ahead of making my next move. There’s actually never been much money in it. So I think I might get my degree before committing either way. Watch this space.

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