Is That a Banana in Your Pocket, or a BUH-nan-uh?

“Banana” is pronounced “buh-NAN-uh.”

It’s a strict rule.

I know that because I tried to break it at the cafe near my house this morning.

I asked for a “BUH-nan-uh.”

“A what?” asked the cafe employee.

“A BUH-nan-uh,” I repeated.

“A buh-NAN-uh?” she asked, a little impatient.

“A BUH-nan-uh,” I repeated.

“One of these?” she asked, pointing to a banana and looking at me as though I were a toddler.

I nodded.

She shook her head.

“You know, in my six years here, I’ve never heard anybody pronounce it, ‘BUH-nan-uh,'” she said.

“Oh, well that’s just how we pronounce it where I’m from,” I answered.

“Oh, I see,” she said, calming down a little.  “Where are you from?”

“Down the block,” I replied.

42 thoughts on “Is That a Banana in Your Pocket, or a BUH-nan-uh?

  1. I’m guessing you just LOVE to mess with people’s minds. Something my husband loves to do, too.

    Thanks for the laugh!

  2. I’d like you to know I just spent the past three minutes pronouncing banana in different ways. In the middle of a library.

  3. LMBO! I’ve been sitting here saying “banana” over and over. Thank goodness I’m home alone right now.

  4. I’ve done something totally similar at a cafe here! Only, instead of “banana”, it was “route”. I still got a glare and a weird look. Sort of a cross between consternation and that look of contemplation you get when passing gas.

    Oh, I just read your “Pearls Sells Out” book, and saw the strip you did about the dog wanting to visit Victoria B.C. (And your comment on how you check out Real Estate here).

    I have to say, I love it when my lovely little city gets a shout out. And to be quite honest, I think it’s the most beautiful city in the world. 🙂

  5. I weep for this generation. All conformists. Now you Pastis, you are special. You are Grade A Nonconformist.

  6. I really had to think hard about reading the accents in the pronunciation. I think being from Pittsburgh we say it BAH nah nuh! Yinz knows what I’m sayin’.

  7. Actually, down here in Australia we pronounce banana exactly as you specified. So, if you ever visit Adelaide, you can fit right in as a local by using your pronunciation – as “buh-NAN-uh” will only finger you as an American!

  8. You have changed my life. My New Year’s Resolution is to only say “BUH-nan-uh” never “buh-NAN-uh.”

  9. Pastis, not only are you on the cutting edge of syllabic non-conformism, but you, Pastis, SAVED CHRISTMAS. At least in this little corner of the world.

    My husband is Far From Home and Family in a place filled with sand and camels. Besides being smart, handsome, and an all around great guy, he has this rather quixotic need to serve our country. I’m not quite sure how, but he also managed to talk me into producing four savage creatures known as “children” (shudder). (I think it had something to do with a twinkling eye and a bony grin)

    Surrounded, as I am, by four rambunctious children, I have always identified with Zebra staring watchfully at the Crocs. Teenage boys, after all, are barely able to do anything much other than eat and hatch foolish plans… plans that I have to squash.

    There I was, smiling at the little goons around me, pretending that this was not, in fact, The Worst Christmas Ever.

    Add in the fact that my husband, despite his many sterling qualities (and there are many) cannot buy a decent present to save his life. His usual method is to start small. “Um, what would you like?” and then segue into moderate helplessness, “So, where could I get something like that?” before abandoning all pretense with the soulful request that I “Just go to the store and pick it out, okay?”

    So, I knew what was in that mailer. Some trinkets picked up at the OIF version of the QuikStop.

    I was wrong.

    It was a hand written greeting from you, with an action shot of Zebra, wishing me Merry Christmas.

    It was The Best Present Ever.

    You, Pastis, helped my husband turn this year from a year to be endured into a year to be remembered.

    It was something that showed my husband thought about me, and something that showed he was willing to stand in line and give up his all too rare free time to get. It was something that showed that the artist of what is my favorite comic is also a man with a heart.

    Thank you, Pastis.

    Merry Christmas.

  10. The workers in the businesses near where you live must keep an eye out for you and then make the newest member of the crew deal with you-their form of hazing the newbie!

  11. …I never knew there was more than one way to pronounce “banana” .. (says the girl who’s been called “hannah banana” all her life by every person that’s ever crossed her path long enough to think they’re clever enough to have thought up the rhyme themselves…)

  12. Did you know if you say banana slow enough it sounds like gullible and viceversa?

    Try it. I swear it works.

    Anyways, I’ve heard several ways of pronouncing it, and honestly, I think that girl must only be a 3-watt bulb if she couldn’t understand another “accent.” I work at the Schulz museum and have heard my fair share of Asian, British, Italian, German, and even Israeli accents and can still understand them for the most part.

  13. I had a great uncle who drove a railroad ticket clerk (back when such persons still existed) absolutely bonkers by demanding to purchase tickets to CHIC-a-go and cin-CIN-nat-ti.

    (Banana. I know how to spell it, I just don’t know when to stop.)

  14. In college I worked as a sorority houseboy and really pissed off one of the girls by teasing her whenever she ordered “oranjuice” with her breakfast.

    “Orange…juice?” I’d ask.

    “Yes, oranjuice.”

    “I’m sorry, we don’t have oran juice. We only have grapefruit, cranberry, apple, and orange juice.”

    To this day, I’ve never heard anyone else pronounce it that way. (Except ’80s one-hit-wonder Oran “Juice” Jones.)

  15. Sir,
    It was also my pleasure to chat with you that day here in Baghdad. I hope you stay with the USO tour when they do it again, though I also hope not to be here when you come back. It’s not just about saving money on Christmas gifts, as you can see from my lovely bride’s note. Have a Happy New Year knowing you made a difference out here, too.

  16. That was sweet, Elizabeth. Hopefully he’ll be home soon so you can put that ba-NAN-uh in his pocket to more good use.

    BTW, Steph, you could always fake an English accent and call it a ba-NAW-nuh.

  17. I wonder if that was the waitress I had years ago that when I informed her I had no silverware got a blank look on her face and said, “Huh?”
    I then told her, “You know, forks, spoons, knives.”
    Her blank look continued and after a few seconds a light went on in her head. She said, “Oh, you should have said so in the first place.”

  18. My husband will give his social security number or our phone number in a different cadence than those numbers usually get. Try giving your phone number as (xx x) xx xxx x x, with pauses and emphasis in weird places. It’s hard to write down when you are expecting a certain rhythm.

  19. So she and everyone else there pronounces it incorrectly. You pronounce it the proper correctly. Everyone, and I mean everyone, I’ve ever heard uses your pronounciation.

  20. Please feel free to make fun of my stupidity in that last post of mine. “The propper correctly?” What was I thinking when I typed that.

  21. I’m surprised no one on here (until now! *winks*)has asked how YOU pronounce “tomato” & “potato”! 😛

  22. I have the same kind of fun at dept. stores asking where the throwpillows are. That’s right, all one word.

    Subtle, but it gets them to cock their head like a dog hearing a really high frequency sound.

  23. This is so damn funny. I NEVER laugh out loud at another comic strip. You ROCK Pastis.

    -Nikki Baxter R.N.
    San Diego, Ca.

  24. My sister and I now only say banana as you do. And we will likely begin arranging our groceries like Stonehenge on the conveyor at the store. We’ve conformed to The Nonconformist.

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