When a few of us are talking smack at work and need to shut it down quickly because of the arrival of someone who does not need to hear what we’re saying, we have a code word. “Banana.” The first time we employed this particular little trick, the person who needed to shut up didn’t get it. She kept talking, so someone said “BANANA” with a bit more force. She finally stopped and then said, “Why do you keep saying banana?” Sigh. Finally, after a few months of usage, the code word seems to work. At first I wasn’t sure why I chose banana, but then I remembered one of my favorite moments in Family Guy. Peter and Lois are in their bedroom talking about the kids, and while they’re having what is a fairly mundane conversation, they are both putting on S&M gear. Lois tells Peter “your safety word is banana.” He unzips the zipper over his mouth, says “I love you,” and the scene ends. At least, that’s the way I remember it. I’ve only seen it once, and that was a few years ago.
So I was talking to my brother Tohner the other day and he told me (without my having brought any of this up) that they have a code word at his job to alert everyone to a client or the boss’ arrival. In this situation, the boss happens to be our dad. Coincidentally, their code was bananas foster. Only the rule there is that you have to use the phrase in a sentence. You can’t just do like we do and yell bananas! You have to say, “I was eating baked Alaska the other day when what I really wanted was bananas foster.” Their code was working just fine until someone blew it and Dad found out. So they updated it to “the new movie that Bruce Willis is in.” Although Tohner told me the story in front of Dad, so I guess Bruce Willis is out now, too.
Anyway, what are the odds that a) we’d both have employed code words at work and b) both code words would feature the word banana? Guess the banana doesn’t fall far from the tree. Or something.