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Is There JAVA on that Banana?  


General Rule #78:  Inmates may carry one piece of fruit out of the chow hall to consume at a later time. They may only have one piece of fruit in their possession at any time. 

Guys here often go right from lunch to their afternoon classes, so it was not unusual to see apples or bananas on the tables. On this one particular day, I entered a classroom and passed two students sitting at a table and something strange caught my eye. 

“Is there JAVA on that banana?” I know just enough about computer languages to know what I saw. 

Byte bites = 5;  

For (bites>0, bites – – ){ 


I’d like to give you a little history first: Marion Correctional in Ohio has a nonprofit called Broken Circles Healing, which offers a staggering amount of programming in almost every conceivable area. One class, I help facilitate, called the Agile Factory, taught JAVA. There was a security incident unrelated to our programs and all computers for inmate use were removed from the prison. The Agile Factory continued, but on whiteboards. Now you’re all caught up.

After I asked if there was code written on the outside of his fruit, the banana’s owner and author, Louis spun the banana revealing many lines of code. We teach programming, so it is not that odd to see lines of code strewn about. If you knew Louis, maybe it wasn’t all that strange to see some written on that yellow skin. All I needed to get out of my mouth were two words and the questioning look on my face did the rest. I asked “What the…” He replied, “I coded a process for peeling my banana and how to upload it, then wait for output. I was bored waiting for everyone to show up.” Nerds may find this next line funny, Louis smirked like a Cheshire cat when he delivered it. I don’t get it. He added “They already code on Raspberry pies, why not a banana?” 

I simply had to have this code. As he was writing it out, I shared with him that if some day, years from now, an android is taught to be more human, and do things like eat a banana, his code will be what did it. As much as a super-brainy, JAVA nerd is able to express emotion, I think he might have beamed with a little pride. 

Fast forward to Covid. The state had better things to worry about, and the Healing Broken Circles contract was not renewed. There is now a void in here for that type of intellectual pursuit. However, you can still find guys walking the rec yard, learning code. 

Oh, and if you can’t read the code from the picture, here it is: 

//code only runs on 5 byte edible processors 

//code is reusable and redistributable via creative commons 

//license Louis T. (cc) 2016 (the year I ate a banana) 

Public class Banana extends Fruit implements Eatable { 

//all values are represented in banananary 

Public static void main () { 

 banana  banana = new banana; 

remove peel (banana) { 

//inherited from Fruit class 

banana = banana – banana peel; 

return banana; 

eat (banana) { 

byte bites = 5; 

for (bites >0, bites – -) { 

mouth.chomp (banana) { 

If (banana) <0) { 


Else { 

system.output.print (“eat operation complete, 

wait 24 hours for output”); 







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