Saturday, August 20, 2011

Labeled bottles make flying safe

At LaGuardia, my wife, a seasoned traveler, dutifully presented the see-through plastic bag containing a few small bottles of the approved size containing liquid. One was seized. It contained something she valued. Pointing out that it was regulation size, she got, “It ain’t labeled, lady.”

Supposing whatever possibly dangerous substance it contained had, say, “olive oil” written on it, I inquired, then would it be O.K.?

“Yes.”

“Do you see anything a little stupid about that?” I asked in my sunniest manner. He appeared not to. He dropped the bottle into the barrel beside him.

“One more question. Do you ever feel a little funny about standing eight inches from a barrel full of possible explosives for the rest of the day?”

He went into that mode of looking into the distance, instead of at you. I leaned into his gaze, just for fun.

“Move on,” he sort of belched.

Security Theater. That fun house, LaGuardia.
--Dick Cavett, NYT, on magical security thinking