A Little T&A at the TSA
Yesterday I took my first flight since the "Liquid Prell" airline scare. I checked the Transportation Security Agency's website beforehand, so I would know exactly what liquids, gels and goops I could and could not bring into the airplane cabin. What I found was quite surprising.
The list of prohibited liquids is extensive, and includes not just beverages, but sprays, gel deodorants, hair gel, liquid lip balm, toothpaste, etc. In other words, pretty much any personal item that is not wholly solid. I found that the no-lip-balm rule is rough on a long flight where cabin humidity is set at Sahara levels. But get this: gel-filled bras and personal lubricants are permitted. In a separate section of the list, KY Jelly is specifically permitted as an "essential non-presciption liquid medication." Essential? Medication? What's going on? Are the airlines quietly trying to promote in-flight trysts to take passengers' minds off the inconvenience of all these prohibitions? Does the Mile High Club have a powerful lobbying presence in Washington? If so, they apparently forgot to include the whipped cream, which is a prohibited item. Look for the whipped cream amendment to follow soon.
My interest having been piqued, I then scrolled down the list to where sharp objects, tools and weapons were listed. As I suspected, no brass knuckles are permitted aboard the cabin. No spear guns either (insert Steve Irwin reference here). No axes and hatchets. No cattle prods. No sabers. There's no mention of light sabers, though. No meat cleavers. Too bad, I thought I might pass the time on my trans-continental flight with a little butchering.
But the list of permitted items is pretty shocking given our post-9/11 world: "Toy weapons - if not realistic replicas" are permitted. Hmm, might reasonable people, including air marshalls, disagree at the moment when a weapon is brandished on an airplane whether it is a realistic toy replica or not? Likewise, knitting and crochet needles are permitted. Knitting needles? Those long, really sharp metal things? As it turned out, the young Lisa Loeb lookalike seated next to me was knitting during the flight, and I'm sure that those needles could have been used very effectively as a weapon. Not to mention that one big pocket of turbulence, and I could have been the next Hathaway shirt model. Also, screwdrivers, wrenches and other tools up to seven inches in length are permitted aboard the cabin! Huh? What seems safer to you in the next seat, someone applying lip gloss or someone whipping out a seven-inch Phillips head screwdriver? Were the folks assigned to make this list all working on Iraq that day, and replaced by the B-team? Or was the list made by insecure men who held their fingers a couple inches apart and said, "yup, looks like seven inches to me, no chance that's gonna do any damage"?
Somehow I'll need to synthesize all this information to minimize the inconvenience of my flight home. Does anyone know if personal lubricant prevents chapped lips?