October 31, 2003
O Banana, How Slippery Art Thou?
Banana peels are ridiculously famous for causing people to slip and fall. We've been exposed to this notion our entire lives, but I have never actually slipped on one. I have yet to even come close to slipping on one. I don't even know anybody who has slipped on one.
I started wondering just how slippery are banana peels? Do they even warrant this notorious reputation?
I decided to do a little experiment to measure the relative slipperiness of banana peels in comparison to other fruit peels and items.
You may feel that I am not suited to conduct such a science experiment, given that I'm only a writer. If so, I would like to point out that not only did I marry a physics teacher, but I have also had SEX with her.
Following her suggestions, we decided to use a spring scale to measure the force of friction created by a banana peel on a given surface (my dining room table). My sneaker was used to provide a uniform source of weight on the items we were measuring, and my son's toy truck was used to provide a constant source of motion to pull them. Coincidentally, my son was used to provide a constant source of tears until he could have his truck back.
ON TO THE EXPERIMENT
At first I thought that was pretty cool, but then I realized if I were actually to step on it yellow side down, I'd still be stepping directly ON the slippery inside of the peel and land on my ass. But if I could only make a shoe with banana peel soles, (yellow-side down) -- I'd never fall again! They don't even have a word yet for that level of irony.
While you should still keep an eye out for banana peels, you should definitely keep an even bigger eye out for sesame bagels. (Especially if you are jogging, walking, or on Atkins.)
Sadly (and gladly), I had no more Pickled Pork Rinds left to test.
I think we have learned that while a banana peel is somewhat slippery, it's not really that much more slippery than anything else that is somewhat slippery.
Why this thing is famous at all is a mystery to me -- not banana peels -- Ashlee Simpson. Seriously, I don't get it. Maybe my next experiment will be to figure that out.
Until then, I do hope you enjoyed The Sneeze's first foray into the exciting world of half-assed science. If you prefer fun science that uses its whole ass, I strongly suggest you check out the brilliance going on at the Cockeyed.com Science Club.
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