I have read one sentence, below

Abusing programming instead of drugs. Recently slipped on a banana-peel and ended up working with a legacy laundromat system. And I don't do chat.

Is that joke or reality that person saying, slipped on banana peel & stopped working? Is slipped on a banana-peel a saying in English?


1 Answer 1


I don't think I've ever known of anyone who has injured themselves by slipping on a banana peel. However, I've seen that in cartoons many, many times.

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I even found one picture that makes fun of the fact that no one really slips on banana peels anymore:

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It turns out, though, that a hundred years ago or so, banana peels were a legitimate hazard. As one blogger notes:

Banana peels were in fact dangerous, especially in the large cities of the East Coast at the turn of the twentieth century. They were so plentiful that in some cities, peels became a hazard. Yes, seriously. People fell and were injured.

The blogger goes on to explain how this became a recurring gag in theater and silent movies, and eventually the slip "made its way into American culture."

I'm not sure if it wouldn't be better characterized as a figurative language, as opposed to an idiom, but that's splitting hairs. Chances are very unlikely that our programmer actually sustained a career-changing injury by slipping on a bona fide banana peel.

I'd guess the person probably was on a downward spiral – perhaps because of a bad drug habit, based on the snippet you've provided – but managed to change their ways and become gainfully employed.

  • You just nailed it out.
    – r15
    Sep 26, 2018 at 11:21
  • 1
    I would interpret it as a career move that happened by accident more than by plan. They might also be alluding to the idiom "to fall into something".
    – ColleenV
    Sep 26, 2018 at 13:51
  • @ColleenV - So you believe, that person telling reality.
    – r15
    Sep 26, 2018 at 13:59
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    No, I believe that they are trying to be witty. "Whoops, I slipped and the next thing you know I'm working on laundromat software" It looks like "slip on a bannana peel/skin" may have the meaning to "fail in an embarrassing or avoidable way" merriam-webster.com/dictionary/slip%20on%20a%20banana%20skin/… I'm not sure how wide-spread that meaning is, but in context, I would understand it that way.
    – ColleenV
    Sep 26, 2018 at 14:09
  • Mythbusters did banana peels. youtube.com/watch?v=YZRq3XxCZXo They found that it is possible to slip on them, but it took some effort. Large numbers laying around on the sidewalk would qualify.
    – Dan
    Dec 26, 2021 at 4:52

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