How to Be a Dad

How to Be a Dad

Banana Added for Scale (A New, More Forgiving Unit of Measure)


Banana Added for Scale Banana A New More Forgiving Unit of Measure

The banana is not a standard or scientific unit of measure.

It isn’t even accurate. But isn’t accuracy really for people who build bridges and count how many eyebrow hairs they have? Let’s face it, not everything in the world needs a laser scan that can tell you the shoe size of a molecule.

People like inaccuracy. We say it’s [some hour] o’clock when it’s anywhere within 29 minutes of that hour. When we say it’s about two and a half miles down that-a-ways, we really mean it’s over there and far enough away that we’ll probably be long gone by the time someone could return to complain about our inexactness.

Conversely, accuracy can even freak people out. Give someone an answer down to the thousandth and take note of how quickly it takes for them walk away from you. It’ll probably be about .0042 seconds.

Sometimes guestimates are the best course. For parents, sometimes that all that’s possible with our frazzled heads. About this much; a bunch; a bit; just one sec; a smidge here; a tad there. But there’s a better way now. The banana.

Break free of the snobby bonds of accuracy and precise units of measured length. Don’t be crushed in the iron fist of things like “standards” and “regulations.” Use the banana.

Banana Added for Scale, the Origin

Here’s the story behind the signature joke “Banana Added for Scale” that I add into some Instructional Diagrams. It’s an adventure (not really) back through the mists of time (2010), across vast untamed lands (Facebook), and at last here, on…

Banana Added for Scale Safe Closed August 30, 2010
I have a 60yo tiny antique safe I once got from my grandparents. I set the combo about 18 years ago, forgotten. It has two dials that split the alphabet between. 13 x 13 = 169 possible combinations. I can hear my forgotten stuff rattling around… So, I’ll see you all, at most, 169 combos later.
(Banana added for scale)

Friends commented in on the banana joke as much as the puzzle of the safe. One close friend offered that if I ever got into it, I’d be disappointed because what I’d imagined was probably utterly magical. Like a dried up, petrified banana. Which turned out to be true. The disappointment, not the petrified banana.

Open Safe Banana Added for Scale The next day
The safe hath been cracked!!! I U was the winner. The safe contained $5.35 in change and about a 20 year old Chuck E Cheese token.

Yeah. Rather anticlimactic. I was tempted to send my future self a message. To close up the safe and see what happens to a banana another twenty years out. But I just closed the thing up and forgot the combo in .0042 seconds.


See All the “Banana Added for Scale” Instructional Diagrams
Practical applications of the Banana unit of measure.

Facebook is kinda bananas.
Different definition though.


21 Responses to “Banana Added for Scale (A New, More Forgiving Unit of Measure)”

  1. Aaron says:

    And the second I started reading this article all I could hear in my head was “Banana Phone.”

  2. Laurie says:

    Whoa! I didn’t know the banana for scale wasn’t accurate!:)
    I do find it funny though, I laugh every time I see it, much better than the coin lots of people use for scale..

  3. LOL!! Oh Charlie! That cracks me up. Totally random too….gotta love that you came back and made an infographic for it. You get 100 blogger points for that πŸ™‚

    • Andy says:

      Whoops! I think you mean Andy. πŸ˜‰ But thanks. I like blogger points.

      • I want to say “no more commenting after midnight for me” but um the timestamp says 10:53 pm. Really, Annie? LOL!! Dude, I don’t know why I keep getting you two mixed up. Sorry Andy! Ok, next time I comment on your post I will call you ANDY lol πŸ™‚

        • Andy says:

          That’s adorable. An apology is never necessary when you make me laugh my ass off. πŸ˜‰ BEEN THERE, DONE… Wait… I think I’m in a perpetual state of “thatness.”

  4. Shilpa says:

    are you aware that is in love with your banana? top comment on a cute puppy of kitten will be “needs banana for scale”

    Have just realised that “in love with your banana” sounds a bit sketchy. But I’m leaving it like that.

    • Andy says:

      Yeah, it’s pretty mind blowing. It’s like I created a meme. Kind of makes my head hurt to think about that… pure craziness. Very flattering!

      @ “sketchy sounding banana love” Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

  5. Mother Duck says:

    This will always and forever be my favorite form of measurement. I’d say it even solves the whole Euro/American war on inches vs m’s. Nice!

  6. Waldo120 says:

    I am going to put it on my CAD drawings at work and see what my manager says when I come to him for a signature.

  7. Waldo120 says:

    Do you have a high res image of your simpler banana added for scale that I see in the corner of some of your cartoons?

    You should really have a Google search on your page somewhere.

    • Andy says:

      I’m sure I have it somewhere in my files. But I plan on using it t-shirt artwork at some point so I’m reluctant to give out the file. πŸ˜‰

      We have a search bar on our website. I’m not a fan of Google’s site search. Out of curiosity, why do you think that our site needs it?

      • Waldo120 says:

        I don’t think your site needs it, I think I need it for my drawings ;P.

        Ah, I missed the search button cause I was looking at the top right where most people put it.

  8. shakesrear says:

    This is very similar to my unit of distance – the Puff-the-Magic-Dragon. This is how you use it:

    looking at a map to a new store I want to go to, my husband says, “Oh it’s at least 20 Puff-the-Magic-Dragons.”

    Of course, when my kids are on a Radiohead fix, we can get it down to 5 Paranoid-Androids.

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