Yellow bananas, green bananas and the middle path.

I have several notebooks of quotes and sayings that I’ve collected over the past 15 years or so, some of which I’m now re-reading for the first time since I wrote them down.

There is one quote I stumbled upon that puzzled me, as I wasn’t sure how to take it. Perhaps it is no surprise that it comes from a figure often seen as polarizing, the former pro football coach Bill Parcells. Commenting on his refusal to look past the next game, Parcells said:

“I don’t even buy green bananas. I buy them yellow because I know I’m going to use them right away. I don’t look down the road with green bananas.”

At first, I wondered whether this was the bluster of an impatient man, someone in too much of a rush–or an enlightened individual living in the moment. It also made be wonder whether I was a green or yellow banana person.

But then, I realized this was a false choice. Because there was another option on the table, the choice to buy both green and yellow bananas, preparing for today as well as the days to come.

I think it is often this way in life. We think there are only two solutions to a situation. When in reality, there is a third way, a middle path, that encompasses both possible solutions.


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