How many hundreds of times have you seen a cartoon of a banana peel on the sidewalk and someone comes along, steps on it, and ends up flat on their back on the sidewalk? It’s a legendary image, loved by those who create animated cartoons.
But … how many times have you actually seen a banana peel lying on the pavement waiting for someone to step on it? Yesterday I stepped into the world of legendary imagery! There it was, looking all innocent and just waiting for some unaware person to step on it and fracture a disc in their spine.
My daughter and I managed to spot it in time to avoid the catastrophe, but I found myself excited by the image, and rushed to take a picture of it, not believing that a legend had become reality right there before my eyes. **
It was like seeing a grand piano falling from an upper floor of an apartment building and smashing on the sidewalk.
Or a wheel disconnecting from the axle and spinning out of control down the street.*
Or a pot of gold appearing in my back yard at the end of a rainbow.
I believe that legends begin with some degree of reality. Some place in history, something resembling the story that is told and retold today actually took place. It was probably far less dramatic than that which happens today. But a legend begins and the story becomes more and more exaggerated as time goes on. Eventually it attains the quality of legend and becomes more and more unbelievable in the minds of artists and writers.
Now, to be fair, no one actually stepped on the banana peel I saw yesterday. I doubt that someone had done so earlier, also, as the peel was pristine in its condition. I found myself wondering why it was splayed there in the middle of a parking area, and why the person who dropped it had left it there. In any case, my daughter picked it up and carried it inside where she responsibly dropped it into a trash can. We weren’t going to take a chance that a legend was fulfilled and someone ended up in the hospital.
It also made me wonder what events of current life are destined to become legendary. I won’t really know, as the situation has to be repeated numerous times in order to achieve legendary status. But there are journalists, commentators, and cartoonists out there who are more than ready to declare a person or an event as “legendary.“ My sense is that it is usually a little premature to make such an assessment. But I suppose there is a growing file of characteristics which may be applied to an incident or personality to start the tradition on its journey toward legendary status.
I’m more inclined to believe it must be a spontaneous event which is so dramatic as to be tagged as remarkable enough to qualify.
Photo Credit: Lauren Edelstein
** I hate to admit it, but I messed up the photo I snapped. I think I hit the wrong “save” button and erased it. Thankfully, Ms. Edelstein had a photo ready for me to download.
* I actually had this happen a few years ago when the wheel on my driver’s side of the car fell off and my car came to a sudden stop in the middle of traffic. The axle had collapsed! But I was too upset to enjoy the fact that a legendary event had taken place.