TSA gives us back our 'man tradition'
Free at last, free at last!
After April 25, I once again will walk onto an airplane with my trusty knife where it belongs: in my pocket.
The Transportation Security Administration finally concluded that I can’t hijack an aircraft with a Swiss Army Knife sporting a 2.25-inch blade — well below the new 2.36-inch limit.
Yes, it’s a Swiss Army Knife. Others carry a jackknife or a penknife, but for almost 50 years I’ve been partial to a small but incredibly useful package of blades, saw, punch, screwdriver, file, scissors, tweezers and toothpick in successive editions of the same knife.
Brett and Kate McKay said it all when they wrote in 2008: “Men have been carrying pocket knives for centuries … The carrying of a pocket knife is a man tradition that should be continued.”
Their article was entitled, “Every Man Should Carry A Pocket Knife.” Naturally, it was published on a website named, “The Art of Manliness.”
Actually, I started my manly tradition somewhat inauspiciously. At about age 9, during a rousing game of mumblety-peg, I stumbled and nearly stuck myself in the eye. Probably more embarrassed than hurt, I don’t remember having a regular pocket knife afterward until the SAK arrived as a high school graduation gift.
It has been a constant companion ever since. It opens boxes, fixes toys, trims notes, soothes slivered fingers and has executed literally hundreds of diverse and essential tasks over the years.
When I forgot to pack it on one trip, the knife somehow escaped TSA attention in Portland. When I had to exit the secured area at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport for food during a stopover, I hid it behind a trash can long enough to get a potbelly sandwich.
During another episode of forgetfulness, a TSA officer in Alaska was confiscating my SAK to my somewhat vocal chagrin. An Alaska State Trooper guarding the gate reached over, took the knife and calmed me down with one of those random acts of kindness: “Don’t worry,” he said. “Give me your address and I’ll mail it to you.”
The Flight Attendants Union Coalition, by the way, is livid about the change, saying it “will further endanger the lives of all flight attendants and the passengers we work so hard to keep safe and secure.”
As for me, I’ll enjoy just a tiny surge of renewed masculinity next time I fly. But I definitely won’t be playing mumblety-peg in the aisle.
Jeb Bladine can be reached at jbladine@news register.com or 503-687-12