Chipping in on the Hutzler Banana Slicer customer review meme

(Originally published at

Customer Review of the Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer

The Hutzler: A warrior's story
December 22, 2012
By Paul Pearson

The time: 1968. The place: Cambodia.

I don't know what they teach you in history books about that cursed time, that ungovernable place. But whatever verbiage those desk-job hacks use, it's not enough. Calling it mere "hell" is an exercise in mockery. A paradise undermined by mankind's basest disposition.

I was in special ops. Sent on a thankless mission up the Nung River, dispatched to execute a rogue colonel who used mental trickery and coercion tactics to convince locals to serve in his own renegade army. I knew about him. The mention of his name made my fear reverberate with a ferocity and suddenness I could not contain - Colonel Walter E. Chiquita.

They outfitted me with new gear - grenades, knives, pistols, machetes... and something new. Something that was still in the "experimental phase." Sure, I thought - I'm another patsy sent to try out yet another test device from Uncle Sam's wallet. Using me to justify another red-line item on John Q. Public's account balance.

The device? The Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer.

I protested, with vehemence. "What is this? Look, I do things the old-fashioned way. With cunning, brawn, force of will. The sinew and fortitude that defines me as a soldier, a patriot... a man, dammit! I have a Remington 257 Dill Pickle Slicer, and I guarantee you and your pantsuits in accounting, that old lady will serve me just fine!"

The commanding officer glared at me, eyes narrowing, gaze piercing, breath halted. "You'll see. That damned Hutzler is going to save your life. You'll see."

My guide and I navigated the Nung, that perilous Styx, that deceptively calm pathway to hell. Except I doubted my intentions were good. We reached the mouth of Chiquita's dominion. It was eerily quiet for what seemed like an eternity.

Then they came. From behind the tall trees and the bushes of the Nung, slithering out from their cover, as if they were mere extensions of nature, not even stand-alone beings. Their eyes held no atmosphere. They stood without flinch, in their straw Panama hats, their bow ties, and their barbershop quartet striped shirts.

War. I needed no reminder this was war, and my body's impulse towards steeliness kicked in immediately.

"On behalf of the President of the United States of America," I bellowed, "I have come for Colonel Chiquita. Divination informs my mission. The higher powers of humanity have writ my calling card. So go ahead - use your dill pickles on me. I am unafraid of..."

Not one millisecond later it came. The first banana. Peeled, erect, flying over my head so fast I had no chance to check for bruises. It landed on the face of the river with a firm slap, plunged into the depths of that stream, and activated an underwater mine. The explosion charred my soul. My guide perished. I haven't forgotten you, Mickey. I never will -- as if I could try.

I knew I had no time to reflect before the next wave. I had to trust that damned Hutzler. I snapped it out of my knapsack as the next round flew towards my raft.

I don't remember much about what happened next. That is, I remember it. But my disbelief obscures it. I remember some movements - the Hutzler flashing this way and that, naked instinct commandeering my wrists, pools of sweat, player pianos playing ragtime in the distance. My gladiatorial nature responding in outsized bravery. The screams, the madness. My inner voice repeating, in a chillingly calm tone - "Ensete ventricosum, ensete ventricosum, the hands of God..."

It stopped suddenly. The gang retreated in screams. My pulse dashing, my labored breath emitting spits and coughs.

I looked behind me, then down to the floor of the raft. An untellable amount of bananas, sliced, robbed of their destructive potency. The raft looked like a Farrell's Ice Cream Parlor after a buffalo's birthday party. I slid the Hutzler back into my knapsack. I would thank it later. But Chiquita was out there. And I had to finish him, and save my wracked mind from the bitter chaos it had just endured and somehow - whether through my own will, or the good Lord's, I can't say - survived.

It was the ugliest, most awful moment of that unholy war for me, with the exception of the time in Ho Chi Minh when Charlie attacked our unit with an assault of apples... the corer... the corer... the corer...

(Background information)


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