(March 11, 2014)

In spite of my half century on earth, I still relish the chance to master new skills. My children do their best to expand my proficiencies; why, just the other day my 12-year-old taught me how to Photoshop beards and moustaches onto pictures of middle school teachers!

But I have grown weary of hearing about new ways to accomplish mundane tasks I have been performing just fine for most of my life. Peeling a banana for instance.

Not counting the strained variety I consumed as a toddler, I estimate I have eaten several thousand of the yellow, potassium enriched fruit. I've sliced bananas on cereal, heaped them on ice cream and sampled them deep fried, feebly trying to convince myself I was eating a healthy snack even as a mounting oil slick on my plate suggested otherwise. Once, while playing golf in the Caribbean, I channeled my inner primate, plucking a banana off a tree and consuming it while the foursome ahead of me cleared the putting green.

But, as evidenced by a YouTube clip that continues to haunt my social media accounts, I have been incorrectly separating the banana from its outer coating.

Four different Facebook friends recently shared "How To Peel A Banana Like a Monkey." The video's popularity is proof that this harsh winter needs to end so everybody can turn off their PCs and venture outside. Originally posted in 2010, the "tutorial" has garnered 5.5 million views. To get a sense of what our society deems REALLY IMPORTANT, contrast that with a 2010 video explaining the devastating effects of the BP oil spill, considered by most media organizations to be the top news story of that year. A paltry 14,000 views.

The 53- second banana video stars an unnamed male who apparently just rolled out of bed, judging by the T-shirt and pajama bottoms he chose for his moment of viral fame. Only briefly do we see his face, when he bends down to the camera lens and demonstrates how he often resorted to biting the stem to commence the peeling process.

"But then, um, um, a friend of mine Brittney, like, saw me struggling with it yesterday," he continued, in his best, "I'll-let-you-decide-if-I'm-stoned" voice.

Bite the stem? Struggling? Where is this dude getting his bananas, I wondered? I buy mine at Costco and never has one fought back.

Brittney, who does not make an appearance in the video, explained to her banana-challenged friend how to perform the task "the way monkeys do."

With the possible exception of swinging from tree limbs, appearing in Super Bowl commercials or piloting a space capsule, I have never wanted to acquire a monkey's skills. Furthermore, I have seen monkeys engage in behavior I would rather not emulate. When my kids were younger, relaxing family trips to the zoo often turned into inquisitions during the car ride home.

"Monkeys poop, right Daddy?"

"Yes, sweetheart. Just like we do."

"But we don't throw our poop at each other. How come?"

"Why don't you watch that new Barney DVD while Daddy drives?"

The banana mangler then revealed what he'd been promising the entire YouTube community for 42 seconds: the monkey-proven way to release the fruit.

The trick is to pinch the banana from the bottom. The tip splits slightly, causing the peel to literally "peel" away.

"My whole adult life, I never knew the right way to open a banana. And now you do, too," he concluded proudly.

Did I immediately run to my kitchen, find a banana and try this new method? I did. And it works. Will I abandon the technique I've been using since the Nixon administration? Highly unlikely. Old habits die hard.

Well, all this talk about bananas has made me hungry. I think I'll make myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

I spread the peanut butter top to bottom followed by the jelly. That's correct, right?

(Greg Schwem is a corporate stand-up comedian and author of "Text Me If You're Breathing: Observations, Frustrations and Life Lessons From a Low-Tech Dad," available at http://amzn.to/schwem. Visit Greg on the web at http://www.gregschwem.com.)

(c) 2014 GREG SCHWEM. DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC