I write here about a revealing incident.
Sherri and I drove Hannah to the airport, to fly back East to visit relatives
for eight days. (Uncle Seth, Aunt Kazzie and their children Zeke and Sarah;
then Uncle Dan and Aunt Susan.) Sherri dropped me and Hannah off; I went with
Hannah; the plan was for me to get a gate pass and accompany her to the plane;
then come out and get picked up by Sherri. We did this before, and it sort of
We got me a gate pass. While walking to
the checkpoint, I reacted to security theater with mockery, as usual. Hannah
agreed, and noted that once Sherri had to give up some contact lens solution. I
said, “Water is officially an explosive.” Hannah laughed and said, “I can’t
take you anywhere!” “Absolutely not,” I agreed. Then it hit me. “My swiss army
We ran into trouble with that on a previous
airport visit. I keep a swiss army knife in my backpack; a useful tool; but
airports are paranoid. I tried to go through, but they said they’d confiscate
the knife. I pulled back, fuming; Sherri drove by to pick up the knife, I
proceeded. Not a process to repeat!
So what to do? Hannah and I agreed that
I had to hide it somewhere. So as she wheeled her pack towards the security
gate, I kept an eye out for hiding places. Small volumes, out of sight, beneath
or behind. I found a recycling bin, approached it, glanced behind it, dropped
the knife there, and proceeded towards the security gate.
There we removed our shoes like good
Moslems. Our luggage got X-rayed and we went through a metal detector. It was
one of those booths where you’re supposed to raise your hands in surrender,
which is what the word ‘Islam’ means; I raised my hands in a shrug.
We went to the gate, Hannah left her
luggage at the counter for last-minute luggage check-in, and then boarded right
away. Surprisingly efficient. I left the gate, went out to the main hall, found
the recycling bin, looked behind, there was my knife. I picked it up and went
out to get picked up by Sherri, no hassle.
I see in that knife a symbol. Their
stupid rules turned it into a problem; I couldn’t efficiently manage it within
their clueless authoritarian system; so to get things done, I had to cheat. I
had to smuggle my knife out of the terminal. This proved easy to do, for “the
invisible hand is quicker than the all-seeing eye” (as I said in my Underfable,
“The Magic of the Marketplace”).
When the rules are stupid, it’s stupid
to follow the rules. That airport taught me how to remove my shoes like a good
Moslem, but also how to see like a smuggler.