In all my banana-eating life, I always called those stringy things on bananas stringy things on bananas.  I never knew their name was phloem (pronounced floem).  They are like veins and carry nutrients to the banana.

How did I learn this?  Today while I was doing some Algebra, a voice in my head said, “What do they call those stringy things on bananas?”  The Algebra problem I was solving had nothing to do with bananas.  I was not eating a banana, and there were no bananas in sight.  So I said to the voice, “I’m dividing polynomials.  What made you ask me a question about bananas?”

“I don’t know,” said the voice. “Obviously you don’t know the answer.  Why don’t you google my question?”

I did.

“Wow!  I never knew that.”

“See?” said the voice. “Aren’t you glad I asked?”


Those stringy things on bananas never bothered me.  I always ate them.  But some people gag when they see phloem.

I knew that we peeled bananas the wrong way by snapping the stem.  The myth is that monkeys peel bananas the right way:  by pinching and peeling from the bottom (which is actually the top).  What I didn’t know is that you will not get any phloem on bananas if you peel them the right way.

Amazing!  I learned about phloem and how to prevent it while dividing polynomials.


About Gary Johnston

I am an imaginary number -- a symbol used to count and measure. As Senior Imaginary Number at Einstein Equations Incorporated, I facilitate the calculation of the impossible.

Posted on June 19, 2017, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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