August 29th, 2005

Tuesday, August 30

Panel 1: Ah, so we're finally going to get some airport drama! Last year, I actually learned something from this strip: you can't bring hot sauce or fruitcake through an airport: fruitcake because it's too dense to scan, and hot sauce, I guess because it looks enough like a Molotov cocktail/petrol bomb to be suspicious.

Panel 2: Now, why does April say "No!" so emphatically? Is she just raising her voice to be heard above the din, or is her tone indignant, as in, "A cigarette lighter? ME?! But I'm a PATTERSON!"?

Panel 3: Oh no. Don't tell me: the bag is tainted with fertilizer.

Panel 4: Oh, okay: it's nail scissors. The current shorthand for "Why don't they bust some REAL terrorists?"

And a question, because I have not flown since before 9/11: Do they really make a huge scene when they confiscate stuff? With their lower jaw jutting out and everything? Seems like airport security would want to avoid panic...but OTOH, they could be trying to strike fear in the hearts of potential wrongdoers.

Panel 5: What's there to be embarrassed about, for potato's sake? Is it just the old theme that EVERYTHING'S embarrassing to a 14 y/o?

And what does that guard mean: "People forget things all the time"? Is Lynn editorializing, like the minute people "forget" 9/11 (like anyone could), there'll be another attack?

Anecdote: In 1991, I think it was, my sister gave me my first Zippo for Christmas. She also gave me flints and fluid. Well, I had them in my carryon (or was it my big bag?) when I went to fly back to college after break. Now, at that time, airport security was primarily concerned* with people accidentally bringing the plane down, with cell phones, laptops, radios, and flammable materials. And there were huge signs warning against bringing or using such items on board. So when I went through the checkpoint, I voluntarily handed over my lighter fluid, and filled out a card to have it sent to my parents' house.

After clearing security, I found a chair and awaited my flight being called. Then it hit me: "My dad doesn't like me to smoke...and if a can of lighter fluid turns up at the house, I'll have some serious 'splainin' to do, and so might Sis. Better go back and tell them to just toss it." So I went back to security, where there were now no passengers being checked; just two guards watching a mini-TV. I had to go around the barrier to get their attention, but they were polite and reasonable, just asked me what I wanted, and agreed to chuck out the can of fluid. (And much later, I realized that they were probably never going to send it to me anyway.)

My point being, can you imagine that whole scenario today?

*Not saying that they were not concerned about terrorism; of course they were. But not like they are now.