Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Miracle Weapon in the War on Terror Discovered!

I've mentioned before that I spend a lot of time in airports and am a big fan of security theater, but today I had a revelation that was on par with what Neo must have felt like when he woke up in that slime-filled pod. I read yesterday with no small amount of joy that the War on Liquid was being relaxed and that, unlike the day prior, certain liquids were no longer dangerous explosives but instead had been declared innocuous and were super duper ok to bring on aircraft once again. I was relieved that I'd be able to bring saline solution and toothpaste on board without checking my bags with the attendant 30-60 minute baggage delay on landing or resulting to smuggling 1/2 oz bottles through security in my pockets or discretely in my carry-ons.

Little did I know that there was a caveat to this major victory: these liquids are only safe for travel if they're contained within a clear plastic 1-quart zip-loc baggie. I discovered this the hard way, I brought my shaving creme too. Now, I had seen the announcements yesterday, including the caveat of putting things in a clear plastic 1-quart zip-loc baggie, but I didn't understand that the container around the liquids was the thing that was actually ensuring the safety of the aircraft and all those aboard.

When I arrived at the check point there was a TSA person there declaring loudly for everyone to hear that the key to salvation was in fact the clear plastic 1-quart zip-log baggie and that anything inside was ok to travel and anything that wasn't in the bag was contraband and hazardous to the national security of the United States. At this point, I knew that there was going to be trouble because I had brought a 2oz travel can of shaving creme but I DIDN'T HAVE A CLEAR PLASTIC 1-QUART ZIP-LOC BAGGIE WITH ME! Now, not wanting my 2/3oz bottle of saline solution or travel toothpaste I was smuggling in my bag to get confiscated, I came up with a plan.

When I got I up to the head of the line I took out my shaving creme and said "I'm sorry, I don't have a clear plastic 1-quart zip-loc baggie with me to contain this deadly shaving creme, do you guys have any?" I may have left out the "deadly shaving creme" part. Anyway, they said "No, that can't go". There were no trash cans handy so I asked what I should do with it and they said to put it in one of the small trays and send it through the X-ray. For a second I thought that sanity had prevailed and that they were going to apply critical thought to the situation, but I was relieved to see that mindless obedience to the rules won the day. Upon emerging from the machine, one of the TSA people grabbed the tray and said "who's shaving creme is this?". I indicated it was mine and he shook his head and said "that can't go" and promptly chucked it in the garbage. As I was putting my shoes back on and packing away my laptop, he wandered by and I thought to ask him a question.

Me: "Just so I'm clear, if I put that shaving creme in a clear plastic 1-quart zip-loc baggie that would have been fine?"

TSA guy: "Uh, yeah."

I made eye contact with him, shaking my head and he looked back at me for a couple seconds before he cracked a sheepish-grin.

I don't know about you but I'm selling my stock in Halliburton and LockheedMartin and buying S.C Johnson as soon as this plane lands.

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