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Bombs away! Yum!


I was riding to work the other day when I encountered a banana peel dead ahead.

I probably could have maneuvered around it, despite my proximity to the curb and the car passing to my left, but I decided just to ride over it.

In one terrible split-second before contact with said fruit wrapper, I had an awful thought.

Well, actually, I had a couple.

The first wasn’t so terrible. I flashed back to a story I’d read about vandals painting Mario Kart symbols on a bike lane in Portland. I recalled there were power-ups and a mushroom and a star and … a banana. I have to admit that though I’m not normally a proponent of defacing public property, I found the paintings quite clever.

My second thought was, What if I hit this peel and — cue the crazy sound effects — go tailend over teakettle, just like in the cartoons?

I didn’t, of course, but I think it speaks volumes that my first thoughts when confronted with discarded fruit were of a video game and a cartoon.

I’m so mature.

Once I passed the Chaquita land mine, I started wondering about other unusual potential roadside threats.

Potholes and roadkill are common.

In keeping with the cartoon thread, I’ve seen a few telltale signs of roadside oil slicks. Normally, there’s a huge puddle, followed by a gradual tapering-off that makes me cringe as I think about the catastrophic fallout of an engine running dry.

Then my poor little brain flashed back to a rash of similar — but markedly different — stains I encountered a few years ago. They were dark like oil and started with a dramatic splat.

But they were noticeably more brown and, if I may be so bold, more delicious-looking.

I saw several over a few weeks before I realized the true makeup of the slick. Sitting in the middle of one particular mess was a smashed, empty Hershey’s chocolate syrup bottle.

It made a perfect, innocuous booby trap. Trailing the initial splat were distinct tire tracks that gradually faded away after half a block or so.

I saw so many chocolate slicks, I assumed there was some sort of serial chocolate bomber around (not to be confused with Chocolate Bombs cereal).

So far, I’ve only recently encountered the one banana peel, so I doubt there’s a serial banana bomber about, too.

If there is, however, perhaps he should get with the chocolate bomber, hook up with an ice cream guy, sprinkle on some nuts and open a roadside banana split stand.


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