Once upon a time, there was a young man who wanted, despite having a short temper, to be a ticket-taker on the railroad. At last, his dreams were realized, and on his first day, he was moving through the passenger cars and punching tickets. It went well at first, until he came upon a young ruffian.
“I got no ticket,” the ruffian sneered. “Whatcha gonna do about iiiiiiiiiiiii–“, and to the other passengers’ shock and dismay, the ticket-taker seized the young man by the collar, opened the car door, and shoved the free-rider out to a grisly death beneath the train’s wheels.
In the ensuing trial, the conductor was convicted of murder and sentenced to the electric chair. When the fateful day arrived, he requested a banana for his last meal. He was strapped into the chair, the switch was thrown, the lights dimmed, and…
Nothing happened. The guy was fine, and not at all dead. But as the sentence had been carried out, there was little else they could do, so they cut the fellow loose and he went back to work on the railroad.
As he made his way through the passenger car, he punched tickets until he saw an elderly lady hunting through her purse. “I know I have my ticket somewh– …” But alas, it was too late, and she too was tossed through the car door to plunge into a gorge beneath a trestle.
Again, he was tried, convicted, and sentenced to the electric chair. Indeed, it was the same executioner, and being a scrupulous sort, he checked all the circuits, made sure all the connections were good, personally soaked the sponges in brine, the whole bit. The rail worker again requested a banana, which he ate without fuss. He was strapped in once more, the executioner threw the switch, and…
Nothing. Nada zip zero. There was electricity, all right, but the condemned man was unfazed, and once more was released, as the sentence had been carried out.
Working once more on the railroad, he was confronted by a dozen ticketless children. He had chucked six to their doom by the time the kindergarten teacher conducting the field trip produced the tickets and stopped him. So…
Trial. Conviction. Sentenced to the chair. The executioner is going out of his mind — at this point, it’s personal. He disassembles the chair and rebuilds it. He tries it out on a couple of other convicts, much to their chagrin. He flash-fries his Christmas turkey on it. After the prisoner finishes his banana, the executioner has the guy thoroughly scrubbed (to remove any traces of oil) and searched before he is strapped into the chair. Once the prisoner is secured, the executioner throws the switch and…
Sorry. No effect on the condemned man at all. So they let him out of the chair, he gets dressed in civvies, and he asks directions to the nearest rail depot. But before he can leave, the executioner approaches him.
“It’s something to do with the banana, isn’t it?
“What do you mean?”
“You do something with the banana that keeps the chair from working, right?”
“Well, no,” the fellow says. “I just really like bananas.”
And at last, in despair, the executioner screams, “THEN WHY WON’T YOU DIE?”
The rail worker scratches his head and says, “I don’t know. I guess I’m just not a very good conductor.”