You do not need to look far to see the popular comedy gag of a person slipping on a banana peel to their doom. The “slipping on the banana peel” that made its way into the pop culture lexicon has a not-so-funny origin. When bananas first made their way to the United States, streets became overrun with their peels, which led to a lot of serious injuries. Then a comedian came along and turned tragedy into comedy.
When Bananas Came to the US
Before it became a slapstick staple, the banana peel was a real danger that caused serious injuries. Bananas were introduced to the United States in the middle of the 19th century, and the nutritious fruit quickly became a popular snack. It was compact, easy to eat, and filling.
Unfortunately, they came at a time when sanitation was not the biggest priority for Americans. It was not uncommon for people to toss their garbage onto the streets, not bothering to use trash cans or bag up their refuse. This created a hygienic nightmare, and rotten banana peels quickly became health hazards as many people slipped, fell, and injured themselves on the slick and slimy skins.
The Problem with Banana Peels
Banana peels turned into a symbol of bad manners and uncouth behavior. Slipping on a banana peel was no laughing matter. People often broke their limbs after losing their footing on the peels.
Soon legislation was passed to prevent the careless toss of banana peels on public streets. People were also socially shamed for the practice, warned that they could harm others and send them to the poorhouse due to the inevitable injuries that resulted from banana peel slips and falls.
In addition to public shaming, cities employed workers to sweep the streets and dispose of waste. Soon the problem waned, and the nightmare caused by banana peels became a distant memory.
How the Gag Started
Comedian “Sliding” Billy Watson resurrected the trusty banana peel and turned it into a running gag in his shows. After witnessing a man struggling to regain his balance after stepping on a peel, he decided to make the slip and fall a regular part of his act. The gig stuck and is now a slapstick feature of cartoons, movies, and tv shows.
Why it’s Not Funny
Slips and falls, however, are no laughing matter. Nearly 800,000 hospital emergency room visits each year are due to this kind of accident. Serious injuries like broken bones, fractures, skin tears, and sprains are common and can leave victims with ongoing pain, suffering, and loss of income.
The majority of traumatic brain injuries are due to falls, and older people are the most susceptible to fall injuries. At least 300,000 seniors suffer hip fractures as a result of slips and falls.
Contact a Lawyer
If you were injured, a slip & fall accident lawyer can help you get the money you need to pay hospital bills, replace lost income and get back to normal life. A slip and fall can cost you your job and your freedom of movement. The highest expense related to slip and fall accidents are hospital bills. Many find themselves financially ruined after an accident.
Your lawyer can help you:
- Recover money for medical bills
- Replace lost income
- Pay for physical therapy or other treatments
- Cover expenses until you can get back to normal
Other Slip-and-fall Hazards
Slips and falls are often caused by negligence by a company or government agency, and they should be held accountable. A snowy sidewalk at the DMV, a wet floor in a supermarket, or a set of icy stairs at work are all hazards that can lead to injury, and your lawyer will work to get you the compensation you deserve.