“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a man in search of an X-Box Kinect, who, on finding one at a carnival game, went and emptied his life savings, didn’t win the Kinect, and was given a giant Rastafarian Banana as a consolation prize.”


It’s hard not to feel for Henry Gribbohm, who recently became the laughing stock of the internet for dropping $2,600 on a carnival game, attempting to win an X-Box Kinnect. It’s a short story, hitting on themes of compulsive gambling, potential corruption, and a redefinition of life savings.

The long and short of the story is this: Mr. Gribbohm was at a local carnival playing the harder-than-it-looks toss-the-ball-in-the-basket game. After nailing a few practice tosses, Mr. Gribbohm went for the big prize–an X-Box Kinect. After emptying his wallet on this harder level of the game, he left and returned later with his life savings in hand. And a few double-or-nothing tosses later, he was broke, with only a four foot tall, grinning, dread-lock sporting Rastafarian banana as a consolation prize.

It’s as bizarre as an Onion headline and as universal as death and taxes- someone devotes their everything to a goal, only to be left with a monument to their failure. This time, that monument happens to be a four-foot tall rasta-banana. The local news affiliate seems to have taken great joy in making Mr. Gribbohm parade down the street with his child in the stroller and the banana on his shoulder–because that’s just what you do with your trophy of shame and defeat. For others, that trophy could be the mini-van, the less-important job, the alienated child or parent, the “honorary mention” award ribbon, the bookshelf of self-published material that never sold, you name it.

The story isn’t over yet–there’s an investigation in to the game being rigged and the obligatory potential lawsuit. In a great redeeming twist, the website collegehumor.com is offering to buy Mr. Gribbohm’s banana for $2,600 and give him an X-Box Kinect, restoring his life savings and removing the object of his shame. So all is not lost. I’ll spare you the extended  metaphor about how “Christ saves us from our rasta-bananas” (if there’s anything tackier than the rasta-banana itself, that might be it!). And yet there is something freeing about knowing that, like the pearl of great price or the treasure hidden in the field, the gospel is not a game-of-chance or a bait-and-switch but a sure thing. Or as the bible says, “What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a four foot tall grinning stuffed banana with dreadlocks?”