I wonder if people who work in airport security hunger for dangerous objects. Not just the too-big bottle of lotion (!) or the nail clippers but something really… substantial. Something that makes them say fuck yea! I told you all this hassle is WORTH IT.
“Can you please step over here?” I’m pulled to the side as we get through the security at Munich airport on our way to Bangkok. The security woman looks at me with concern, but I’m not concerned. I packed carefully. There are no illicit bottles of shampoo, forgotten half-drunk bottles of water, or even bottles of ink, in my bag. Not this time. Nothing dangerous, or embarrassing (I recall briefly about six years ago when I had no choice but to unload volume after volume of dirty comics. “What is this?” The security officer presiding cracked one open and I smiled nervously. “Tentacle pornography. It’s for research purposes.” He thumbed through one book with equal titillation and disgust (strictly for security purposes, you understand), then helped me pack the 20+ volumes back into my bag. Sure, there was that, but that was the old me. The foolish me. This is the new and improved recipe.)
“Dude,” J puts his hand on my shoulder, sighs deeply. “Don’t tell me you forgot your sushi knife in your bag.”
Another security guard joins his colleague, they pull that beaut out of my backpack’s secret laptop compartment, like triumphant fishermen lifting a fighting sturgeon from the sea. A blade a good foot long, about 1.5 inches deep–wooden scabbard and everything. The man-guard takes the scabbard “Japanese, right?” He asks with a little hush. He’s pulled the blade out about two inches and is examining the etchings on the bottom. J looks pretty meefed–I think it’s kinda funny–Nazgul is using this opportunity to have the security woman run the beepy wand over him for the 17th time. The security guard finally abandons all decorum and lets the inner 14 year old boy out to run free. He pulls the blade out fully, brandishes it with glee at one of his other colleagues, : “I hit the mother-load man! It’s like, an echt katana, man!”
In the small security office to the side I contemplate that its good this didn’t happen on American soil. It would have probably cost us all a strip and cavity search, little baby and everything. The Germans just ask a few questions.
“Why do you have such a large knife in your carry-on backpack?”
“Uhm… I used to be a sushi chef and I was making sushi for a friend at their house a month ago and I put the knife in the secret compartment back then and later totally forgot about it?”
The story is so ridiculous, it has to be true. We’re allowed to stow the knife in our checked bags and proceed to boarding…
J fuming: “How could you forget you had that huge KNIFE in your bag?
Me: Oh come on. It was funny. We made those people’s mornings. Probably their day. Did you see how happy that guy was to finally find something that was actually dangerous? You could tell he could barely keep himself from waving the knife at the other guards.
J: He DID wave it at the other guards…
Me: See? He loved it.
Do I imagine it, or does the Australian captain pronounce the city’s second syllable with a little more aplomb than necessary on the next leg?
“I’ll be your captain today and our flight to Bang-KOK will be approximately four and a half hours. Yes, we have very favorable tailwinds, meaning we’ll be arriving at Bang-KOK about thirty minutes earlier than anticipated… We do apologize for the delay here in Abu Dhabi and hope that…”