McDonalds CEO Ray Kroc once said, “As long as you’re green, you’re growing. As soon as you’re ripe you start to rot.”
With Kroc’s quote in mind, this episode’s podcast invokes Sigmund Freud to obliquely answer the question of how best to deal with a ripe banana.
…The symbolism is not subtle. In many ways, this is an attempt to answer a larger and more pertinent question: how best to deal with a ripe patriarchy.
Compostmodernist recommends the audio version of this podcast, featuring music from JF Archer. Press play above or use the provided links.
For those interested in a transcript, read on:
You’ve probably heard of penis envy. It’s Sigmund Freud’s idea that all females are born with a secret jealousy that they carry for their entire lives. Freud claims that, regardless of whether they acknowledge it or not, women desperately wish that they were born with a penis. It’s a crazy idea that has implanted itself into our collective consciousness, so that when we think of Sigmeund Freud, we think of penis envy.
Well, penis envy has a counterpart that is slightly less well-known. It’s called Vagina Dentata, or “the toothed vagina.” Vagina Dentata is a secret fear that men carry throughout their lives. According to Freud, every man alive is subconsciously worried that some day he’ll encounter a vagina with teeth, a vagina that will eat his penis.
Even though modern psychoanalysis has all but forgotten these Freudian theories, the symbols still survive. It’s easy to find them everywhere in everyday life, if you only look for them.
Take the disposal, for example. Here’s one example of Vagina Dentata that we encounter in about half of all US households. It has a soft exterior hole, and anything you put into it, anything, is mechanically masticated at the flip of a switch. There’s a bit of banana on your plate that you didn’t eat during breakfast. So you take it to the disposeal and grind it into bits that will travel down the drain and far away.
Well, what you put down the drain goes to a wastewater treatment plant, an energy intensive facility that deals with the downstream effects of everything you pour down the drain or flush down the toilet. Tax dollars and fossil fuels are spent in the process of separating your tiny banana bits from the water that you used to wash it away.
So think twice before putting your banana into the disposal. There is an alternative. Yes, you don’t have to grind it into bits to send it away, and I’m not just talking about the trash can. Even though sending your banana to a landfill would be more energy-conscious than to send it down the drain, there is an even more luscious option.
I’m talking about burying your banana in a dark, moist and warm space, right at home. I’m talking about putting your banana in a compost bin. This way, the banana will still be broken into tiny molecular pieces, but in a process of love. Your banana will give itself freely to the compost pile, and the compost pile will receive it with tender care, giving new meaning to the life that it once carried.
Your banana will be taken up by a beautiful culture of microbial diversity, a culture of earth and rebirth.
So don’t put your banana in a place where it will be “dealt with” by mechanical devices. Put it into a warm, moist compost bin to be deconstructed with love.