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Yes, We have no Bananas by Dick Weinman, The Thin Edge of Dignity

Banana
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photomaru

The  song, Yes, We Have No Bananas, was first sung in 1922 by Isidore Itskowitz.  We know him better as Eddie Cantor. (One couldn’t get work with name endings like itz or ovsky, or the myriad of East Europeans swallowing the officials on Ellis Island.)  Cantor went on to star in vaudeville, Broadway musicals, and radio.  It was in one of those musicals, Make it Snappy, that the world was introduced to Yes, We Have No Bananas.

We residents of NAME WITHHELD, an Assisted Living Facility (ALF) do have bananas – sort of.  Then again – we don’t.  It depends on who you talk to. If you talk to the residents, we don’t. If you talk to the administration, we do. How can this paradox be? A little history may shed some light.

Once upon a time, there was a fairy land where baskets of bananas lay out in the dining room for all to take. One day an ogre grabbed up as many bananas as she could fit under the seat of her walker and in her clothing.  Then, it unfolded that the bonanza of bananas began to slip away, until only the mushy, brown-flecked ones lay squashed in the basket, making it sticky and gross.

The administration was faced with a critical situation – a true dilemma. A crucial high level decision had to be made – a hard choice, indeed, but that’s why managers get the big bucks:   How to ensure that those vitamins B6 and C; those manganese and phosphate-filled delights those bright yellow, sweet, curved-elongated packages of nutritious, healthy living, were available for all.  Ration them!  Not with WWII ration coupons, but by having residents request, or “beg” (again depending to whom one asks) the person who manages the kitchen, our chef.

And so the wicked ogre slunk onto her chair. Administration beamed with pride for a decision well made. The word was sent out over the land, and all the happy health-conscious, nutrition-seeking, dependent-old people learned how they could receive their cornucopia to consume at will – if the chef said:  Yes, We have Banana.

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